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Julia Nelson-Gal (Jules)

About The Artist

Artist Statement

My mixed-media work explores concepts around time, deterioration and human complexity. A fascination from a young age with old photographs, books, tools and utilitarian objects, along with the study of art history and photography, directed me to an art making process focused on repurposing materials first made by others. Materials that are worn, that have lived lives, rather than remaining untouched, have deeper stories to tell. Exploring these objects exposes hidden information and encourages me to acknowledge ephemerality. Ultimately the process begins with deconstructing books (where I might find hidden bindings or unexpected love notes), listening to the ripping linen and feeling the old papers in my hands. The experience of finding, touching and exploring these materials becomes an important part of how I then decide to reconstruct them into a collage.


For twenty years I have made mixed media collages and assemblages, taught classes to children through graduate students, worked as a photographer and created large-scale art projects at Burning Man.  My Master’s degree in the History of Art and Museum Studies led me to work in museums and non-profits for fifteen years prior to becoming an artist. Studying and collecting objects and images made by others continues to influence the decisions and approach I take in making art.

From 2019-2022 I created, along with 120 volunteers, a 30x40x20-foot structure covered in over 3000 deconstructed books, called Unbound: A Library in Transition. Unbound was constructed at Burning Man in 2022 and celebrates the beauty of vintage, discarded book covers and pages while reminding us of the dramatic change in information transfer that has occurred in our lifetimes.

My work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and is in private and public collections in the United States and abroad.

Art Medium(s)

Mixed Media

Group Studio Details

I share a studio with Jamie Madison who has been at the ICB studios for 5 years.

Contact Information

Artist Full Name
Contact Email Address


Exhibitions & Press

Group Exhibitions

Solo and Two-person Exhibitions

2022   Unbound: A Library in Transition, a 400sf structure at Burning Man, NV

2014   Mountain View Center of Performing Arts, CA 

2013   Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery, Monterey, CA

2011   Doug Adams Gallery, Badè Archaeology Museum,PSR, Berkeley

2010   Michael Hunter Gallery, Oak Bluffs, MA

2006   Phantom Art Gallery, Milpitas Community Center, Milpitas, CA

Group Exhibitions

2024 Re /Aligned: A Visual Journey in Collage, The Carl Cherry Center, Carmel, CA

2023   Photography Exhibition, Pacific Art League, Palo Alto, CA

2022   The Dust that Binds US, Foreign Lens Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Re: Imagined, Exhibition and Auction for SCRAP and Randall Museum, SF

Tenth Anniversary LOVE Show, Gray Loft Gallery, Oakland, CA

2021   Collage, SF Women Artists Gallery, SF, CA 

Juried Exhibition, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA

2020   Bird, Nest, Nature Exhibition, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA

Abstract, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA

National Collage Society Exhibition, Kent State University, Ohio

2019   Unbound, de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University

Left Coast Annual Exhibition, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA

2016   Habitat, A Smith Gallery, Johnsonville, TX

7th Annual Altered Book,  Marin MOCA, Novato, CA

Left Coast Annual Exhibition, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA

Salon Statewide Exhibition, Triton Museum, Santa Clara, CA

Palimpsest Culture, Soltesz Fine Art, Portland, OR

Dada is It’s Name, Branner Spangenberg Gallery, Redwood City, CA

One Plus One, Gray Loft Gallery, Oakland, CA

2015   Sheffield International Artists’ Book Prize, Sheffield, England

Second Annual Juried Book Exhibition, WOCA, Fort Worth, Texas



2024 Reproduction, Monterey County Weekly, April 10

Featured Artist, Contemporary Collage Magazine #31, Page spreads 37-43

Awards Publication, Contemporary Collage Magazine

2022 Unbound “Best of Burning Man 2022” includes SFGate, ArchDaily, Dezeen, Archipanic, 

Apple News, MatadorNetwork, several private blogs

Reproductions, Oakland Art Murmur, Article on Jingletown Originals, 2022

2021 Podcast “Art Happens No Matter What” Burning Man Live, 5/27/2021

2020 Interview “Julia Nelson-Gal” in 2/26/2020

2017 SVOSTalkArt Youtube Video, “Julia Nelson-Gal: Mixed Media Artist” 10/28/2017

2014 85 Years: 85 Artists, by the Menlo College Art Committee,  July 2014


2023   Winner, Innovation in Collage: Unbound, Contemporary Collage Magazine, England

ShortList Award, Text in Collage, Contemporary Collage Magazine, England

2022   Global Arts Grant #2  for Unbound: A Library in Transition, Burning Man 2022

2020   Global Arts Grant  for Unbound Project, postponed until Burning Man 2022

National Collage Society Exhibition Award, Kent State, Ohio

2014   Exhibition Award, Sky: A National Exhibition, Bedford Art Gallery, CA

2013   Jury Selection, Cover to Cover, SF Camerawork

2012   Honorable Mention, Altered Book Show, Marin MOCA, Novato, CA

2011   Exhibition Award, Outlandish, Bedford Art Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA 

First Place Exhibition Award, Environment and Conservation, Los Altos, Ca

2007   Juror’s Award, Sanchez Art Center Bay Area Annual, Pacifica CA 

Award Winner, Artfully Reclaimed, Marin MOCA, CA

2006   First Place Exhibition Award Winner, Collage, Impact Gallery, Buffalo, NY

2005   Exhibition Award Winner, Black, White and Read, Cabrillo College, CA

First Place, Manipulated Photography, The Palo Alto Weekly,

Art Award, Silicon Valley Open Studios, San Jose Museum of Art, CA



See publications above



Masters Degree, History of Art, University of Michigan

Museum Practice Degree, University of Michigan

Bachelor’s Degree, Honors Art History and Psychology, University of Michigan



Open late April to Mid May, 2024
May 4-5 & 11-12, 2024

See You In Our Studios!