JULIE AHMAD ART
MAKER: JULIE AHMAD
I've always been curiously drawn to abstract art. When I found Julie's paintings, I connected instantly to her movement and intentionality of color. Living almost a decade in New York City and working in the fashion industry, texture and color are second nature to Julie. The cross over to fine art was natural and it brought cosmopolitan energy into her creations. Get to know more about this artistic soul and where you can find the next inspirational piece for your home or office below!
HOW IMPORTANT IS SHOPPING LOCAL TO YOU
I’m a small business, so I am fully aware of the “happy dance” that happens each time a local business makes a sale. I love supporting other makers and small businesses we all need our community to in order to prosper. The quality can never be beat and you can just feel the love and heart that was put in.
BIGGEST DEBATE OF ALL: COFFEE or TEA, BE SPECIFIC ;)
Coffee all the way! I like tea, but it’s something that’s reserved for when I’m not feeling well and want to curl up in my bed with pjs and binge watch some series on Netflix or Hulu.
WHO DO YOU FOLLOW FOR INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION
I’m a huge fan of the most dreamy artist couple in the entire world, @Mitch.Gobel and @SallyMustang. I could go on and on about the two of them, but it’s better if you just go to their Instagram page and see for yourself.
FAVORITE LOCAL FOOD TRUCK
Do I dare say that I don’t really eat at any food trucks, I may have my Austinite badge revoked but, just not that much of a fan of the entire concept. But I am a big fan of The Soup Peddler (kind of food truck-ish) and a total Voltron smoothie addict.
WHERE DO YOU CREATE BEST? EX: HOME, STUDIO, NATURE, ETC.
I love my home-studio, being able to shut the door on your mess and then pick up right back where you left off is vital to the creative process. Being able to have access to my art space at anytime is such a convince especially when you have little ones.
WHY DID YOU CHOSE TO BE A MAKER WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING MOMENT SO FAR OF YOUR CRAFT
I need to be my own boss and captain of my own ship. Being a Maker allows me to be not only a creative but an Entrepreneur as well. One particular exciting moment was when a set director asked to rent my art for a Holiday Inn commercial. Unfortunately the shot that would have showcased my artwork was cut and it never made it on air. Participating in the project was still a pretty awesome experience.
AS A SMALL BUSINESS, HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR BRAND STANDS OUT
It’s all about attention to detail and customer service. I’m all about quality and doing all the little things that create not only a beautiful piece of art, but an incredible experience for my client so that they feel taken care of and in good hands.
I will happily bring a few pieces to a local client’s home to see which piece will work best with their space and help them decide where to put it. I also will produce a photoshop rendering to help those visualize the piece in their space that are further away.
Having something I created invited into a person’s sacred space is a huge honor and it’s never taken for granted and corners are never cut.
HOW HAS THE AUSTIN COMMUNITY SUPPORTED YOU
The support from the Austin Community is abundant and has been very generous. I just completed a city-funded program initiative called Artist Inc. The focus was to aid artist with business skills, resources and tools. I was one of twenty-five selected to participate in the program and it whole heartedly exceeded my expectations at every level.
Big Medium does an amazing job with the studio tours and getting the public excited about buying local art. I love inviting people to my work space and giving them a more intimate look at the process. Many opportunities have arose from participating in both EAST and WEST Austin Studio Tour that would have not have come to be if the tours didn’t exist.
I must also mention the many wonderful Austin cafes and restaurants that so generously lend their wall space to artists to display their work and gain exposure.
MUST-SEE RECOMMENDATION FOR THOSE TRAVELING TO AUSTIN
The Austin Art Garage on S. Lamar is one of my favorite art galleries in Austin. It combines amazing local talent in a casual and comfortable setting. In my opinion they have brilliantly overcome the obstacle of gallery intimidation and bring quality original art and reproductions to everyday people whom would never normally step into a gallery to experience it.
Unlike most galleries, they don’t have territorial restrictions, which means that they don’t restrict the artist from selling their work through other channels that may be in close proximity according to their guidelines. In my opinion they are the most pro-artist gallery I’ve come across in Austin. Be sure to check out some of my favorite artists Eli Halpin, Graham Franciose and Anna Swanson while you’re there!
WHY DO YOU CALL AUSTIN HOME?
I grew up in a sleepy town in CT and in my 20s made it out to NYC. I remember thinking everyday for the decade I nearly lived in the city, “I’m so lucky to be here, I’m so lucky to be here, OMG I can’t believe I live here”. When I came on a visit to Austin, I unexpectedly fell in love. There was an energy here that was different from New York, it was warm and inviting. When I stepped off the plane and was driving to my Air BnB, there were these gorgeous blue skies, lush open green lands and enormous long horn cattle grazing on the side of the road. I had never seen such creatures and had to stop and take a photograph. There was this overwhelming sense of joy and feeling that I had found the “Motherland” and this is where I belonged. The mantra inside of my head was, “This is home, this is where I belong.” Two years later with a bun in the oven, I was able to convince my husband to make the move.
FAVORITE SONG/ARTIST/ALBUM FOR A SPARK OF CREATIVITY
Alicia Keys, Lucas Graham and Grace are always a hit on my playlist. Then my inner teenager gets her fix with Taylor Swift and the Bieber. I know I’m a geek, but the heart wants what it wants.
FAVORITE LOCAL CURATED BOUTIQUE
Art for the People Gallery on South 1st., it’s a gallery/boutique filled with art and local maker’s goods. The gallerists there are so personable and fun I often find myself taking a stroll over there periodically to check in and see what new gems they’ve discovered. Also, who can resist there two gallery pugs Charm-Charm and Tassel, not to mention they are right next door to Dolce Neve my neighborhood Gelateria.
GO TO MID-DAY SNACK or ROUTINE FOR CREATIVE FUEL
I work best when I have a clear mind. The best way for me to do that is to get a high intensity workout in at the beginning of the day. Everything just falls into place when I’ve “exercised the demons” and then get onto it! My favorite place to do that is FIT AUSTIN which is right by Manchaca and S. Lamar by far the best group fitness classes in Austin.
WHO HAS HAD THE MOST CREATIVE INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE
Believe it or not, but my techie husband Nadeem surprisingly to myself has been heavily influential to my art. We both lived in NYC in our young adult life, but I was an east side girl and he was a west side guy. I always chose to live in a pre-war building which meant high ceilings, crown molding, generous layouts and plaster ornamentation basically the charm and character one would expect from a building built before World War II.
My husband on the other hand was a post-war modernist all the way. High rise buildings, modern fixtures and always a room with clear skyline view. When we came to live together there was a lot of compromising, me being the more flexible one in this case, explored and grew to love modern/contemporary design. Abstract art plays a huge role in the aesthetic and was not only influential to my home decor but became the focus on my primary body of work.
HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA HELPED YOUR BUSINESS, IF ANY
Social media has been a godsend. I’ve approached at least 30 licensing companies and have received either no response or a “thanks but no thanks”. All 3 of my licensing contracts came via Instagram with the company approaching and pursing my work rather than the other way around. I continue to put the majority of my marketing efforts into that platform.
WHAT OTHER ARTISTS HAVE YOU LOVED COLLABORATING WITH
When my daughter Aaliyah turned 3, I felt that she was mature enough to allow her to come into my studio and play. I wanted to include her and have art be a place where she could enjoy herself and feel as free as I did. I set aside a few small canvases for her to paint on and she just loved moving around the paint and adding colors. Soon I found us collaborating together on the same canvas. Her looseness is a direct complement to the tightness that I often found impeding. I love working with my daughter, she will confidently let you know that she’s an artist too! I find her to be a wonderful aid in our creative process and am so grateful for the strength that painting has given to our relationship.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR ART
My abstracts are painted in an intuitive style, not always having the final outcome in mind from the start. It’s a journey and practice in patience and trust. Getting there and discovering where the canvas will lead me, is often full of surprises. Layer after layer, a piece can take any where from 4 or 5 days to 4 or 5 weeks to create. The process is what it is and although not always to my liking, it must be honored.
WHERE CAN SUPPORTERS FIND YOUR CREATIONS
Follow me on Instagram first: @JulieAhmad_Art
My art can be found at several locations around Austin at any given time. I often collaborate with West Elm Austin on 5th Street and have work at Art for the People Gallery on S. 1st.
Look out for my show at Kerbey Lane on South Lamar this November and December in 2017.
You can always see my latest work on my website www.julieahmad.com