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Sonoma County Artist Julianne Skai Arbor: Tree Girl

Sonoma County Artist Julianne Skai Arbor, known as "Tree Girl"

Over 20 years ago, photographer and artist Julianne Skai Arbor was traveling in the rainforest of Australia when she saw two trees that looked like they were dancing together. 

When she saw that the trees were dancing she knew she must join them in their dance. Spontaneously, she tossed off her clothes and ran to join the trees while her companion took photos. That’s how "Tree Girl" all began. 

That’s the power of passion, inspiration and imagination. Since that time Julianne has combined her passion for the natural world with the art of photography, and her desire to share her passion with others. Today she focuses on classic nude photography of herself, as well as other women, interacting with amazing trees all over the world. She says she wants “to remind people that we are nature, and to invite them to cultivate their own personal connection with nature.” Her aim is to capture an authentic, intimate experience of bonding with the natural world, not just posing with a tree.

Julianne is also an author, arborist, conservation educator, and forest ecotherapist, which play important roles in her artwork and message. Julianne grew up in the Midwest and moved to California to attend graduate school where she studied watercolor painting, interpretive dance, and photography. This is where she fell in love with the nature. After she completed a degree in outdoor Environmental Education, she wove her passion for art, natural science, and education in the field of environmental art—which is art with the intention of healing, education, and activism for the Earth. In 2009 she became a certified arborist to better understand trees.

Having lived in Sonoma County since 2000, Julianne is inspired by the beauty of the oak-covered rolling hills, and redwood forests.

Even though she has travelled all over the world, she couldn’t live anywhere else but here, because, as she says, "We're so fortunate to have some of the most amazing trees in the world right here”. Julianne says that she is also “inspired by the men and women who harness their creative power and fearlessly follow their soul’s path in service of the Earth.”

Julianne has just published her first book, TreeGirl: Intimate Encounters with Wild Nature. The book includes photographs of 50 species of trees in 13 countries on 4 continents. The photographs are accompanied by the tree’s natural history, ethnobotany, and the ecopsychology of the human-tree relationship. Along with promoting her first book, she is already planning her next book about nature.

Information about Julianne, her book, and other projects can be found on her website, or here.

Read more about different artists and art culture in Sonoma County.

Images:

  1. Top Image: TreeGirl with Brush Box Tree in Australia ©TreeGirl
  2. Right Image: Wanaka Willow ©TreeGirl
  3. Left Image: Book cover for TreeGirl: Intimate Encounters with Wild Nature
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