Artist spotlight: Viral oil pastel artist Julia Ockert

For some people, social media can be life changing and today’s artist certainly thanks social media in helping her establish herself as a full-time artist. Meet Julia Ockert, a local Canberran-based artist whose Instagram reels are going legit viral! Racking up millions of views, social media has allowed her to market her art to a global audience (with free international shipping, mind you!) and support herself financially.

Describing herself as a ‘watercolour painter and oil pastel doodler’, today we’re delighted to chat with Julia to share her quirky, fun and nostalgic art with you.

Related article: Pastel colours, florals and fun from artist Amy Gibbs
Related article: Best places to buy artwork online: Our list of affordable online art stores

Oil pastel artist Julia Ockert
Collection of works by oil pastel artist Julia Ockert

You can’t put a single label on Julia’s artist style. From still lifes to landscapes, abstracts or animals, some ultra vibrant others black and white, and using an array of media — it’s clear she has range.

“Something that I constantly grapple with is how varied my work is. I find it difficult to stick to a constant theme, style and medium,” she laughs.

“Having said that, I’m most comfortable using watercolours as I find them forgiving and familiar. I’m also able to add a lot of detail to my work with them.”

Julia’s love for art began in high school but like many, she went on to study and took the leap to full-time artist several years later.

“I discovered my passion for paining in high school and have enjoyed it ever since. It wasn’t until after I studied and worked as a Digital Designer for a few years that I really focused on breaking away and pursuing art full time.

“As an artist, I love the positive impact that art can bring into a home. It’s more than decor — it curates space and expresses individuality.”


With a distinct retro vibe running through many of Julia’s works, it’s clear nostalgia provides much inspiration.

“I’ve always admired the style, design and aesthetic of the 1960s and 1970s and a lot of my work reflects this. The overarching theme of nostalgia is something I love to focus my work on. Even though it sounds a bit depressing, I’m particularly drawn to imagery that portrays loneliness, introspection and stillness. 

I’m inspired by the work of many other artists — both historical and contemporary. Sunlight and shadows, 1970’s photography, unique compositions and feelings of nostalgia are all elements that shape and inspire my practice.

“My process includes taking photos or looking for photos I can use as reference pictures. I look for things that really speak to me and take me somewhere.”

Julia’s latest works are quite the opposite. Uplifting quotes using multicoloured oil pastels, some of her Instagram reels showing the process have reached millions!

“The rise in social media was crucial for my transition as it allowed me to market and sustain myself financially but the response to my latest work has been pleasantly overwhelming,” she says modestly.

“I’ve made those quotes available on my website as open edition prints and am also offering custom quotes for anyone who wants specific quote artwork.”

Despite her social media success, she says inspiring others to get into art is her greatest career highlight.

“When people tell me that my work has inspired them to paint, I find that a huge success. I’ve created artworks for Lululemon and Adidas and UrbanOutfitters will be stocking some of my work soon, which is cool… but not as cool as motivating people to create!

“I’d love to start creating tutorials on watercolour and other medium techniques. I find it therapeutic myself, and hope others might be able to as well.”

Thank you Julia for sharing your works with us. A rising talent for sure, you can check out more of Julia’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram.

Read more artist chats

Oil pastel artist Julia Ockert
Oil pastel artist Julia Ockert also uses watercolour paints
Gina Beschorner Style Curator

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