Art for Art’s Sake


WHEN JULIE JUNDT was a child, she spent hours and hours drawing but never felt she had talents like her mother and brother. Ultimately, she gave up creativity for hustle when she became a real-estate agent at age 21. Jundt spent nearly 20 years hot-footing through her career. It wasn’t until she quit working that she found her true creativity.

About two years ago, while taking her son to his piano lesson, she spotted a used guitar for sale with a Fender strap and thought, “I want that strap on my purse.” She bought the guitar and quickly learned that putting that strap on her purse wasn’t quite as simple as she imagined.

But it was the impetus to a path of learning, creating and, ultimately, figuring out how to create things she could see in her head but had no clue how to make manifest. “With the strap, it was like, ‘OK, well, now how do I attach this?’” she says. “So, I set out to figure out the right fasteners.” That turned into learning how to rivet, then grommet.

“Then I tried to sew leather, which went so horribly wrong,” she laughs. But it didn’t take her long to figure it out, and as she learned, she homed in on her specific work. Jundt turns used luxury handbags into one-of-a-kind art bags. “I stand in my garage all day and tear things apart and make new ones,” she says, highly oversimplifying the complexity of her art.

Jundt spends hours studying the construction and details—even the ergonomics—of vintage bags as well as today’s designer bags. She then applies these findings to create patterns for her bags in new and unique designs and proportions. She’s committed to using 100 percent authentic designer bags and has trusted online sources to purchase them.

“When I get these bags, they are—by all accounts—junk,” she says. “It’s not like I’m destroying a perfectly good handbag. I’m making something beautiful and authentic out of something that’s already had a whole other life.” Her favorite things inspire her best designs— she likes to embody something she loves without saying it. For instance, she loves the Kentucky Derby, so she asked herself, “If this bag were going to ‘be’ the Run for the Roses, what would it look like?” And then she lets her imagination and talent take over. “Deep down, I know—I keep learning and getting better; the finished product gets better and better—subconsciously that these bags are special,” she says.

Because her work is so creative and unique, Jundt faces questions all the time: Why don’t you sell these? Why don’t you have a store? How much do your bags cost? For now, her response is: “I just want to make art. I don’t know these answers to the questions.” She thinks she might pursue an art exhibit at some point, but for now, she’s content just to build her inventory and continue along this creative path. “It’s not a business for me right now,” she

says, “It’s art. It took me a long time to realize I’m an artist.”