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Art & Life with Julie Ahmad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Ahmad.

Julie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I attribute my life as an artist to my daughter. When I was pregnant, I often felt this strong burning desire to be creative and work with my hands. There was some kind of organic correlation between my body being in the state of creation and my heart urging my hands to do the same.

I am most drawn to the forgiving qualities of acrylic paint and the loose nature of abstract art. My work is an exploration of intuitive painting; not having the final outcome in mind from the start. The canvas leads and tells its own story. I, the artist, am merely a vehicle for the application.

Each time I pick up the brush, it’s an exercise in letting go of control, judgment and perfection – a practice that also serves me greatly as a mother.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I create large scale abstract mixed media paintings on canvas. I use mainly acrylics and love combining pastels, metallic foiling, charcoal, texture paste and basically anything I can get my hands on that feels inspiring.

There are several layers, as many as 10-15 on some pieces. What’s wonderful about this is that there are no “mistakes”, which gives me a world of freedom as an artist to explore and play on the canvas. I put a lot of love in my paintings; a piece could never be rushed, it simply takes the time it needs to be right and completed.

There is nothing more satisfying than to observe those who view my work and experience an emotional reaction. Depending on the series, sometimes my work is something beautiful to be enjoyed in a person’s home, a piece to complete a space.

With this latest series, I’m working on has a strong message to convey of empowerment, self-love, feminism and anti sex shaming. The work is currently being created and is in the beginning phases, you will have to check back in with me in order to see the final outcome of the series.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
Keep several eggs in many baskets. For example, I always have multiple opportunities going on at the same time. This way if something doesn’t go through or is a flop, there’s always Plan B and Plan C. Once you become more seasoned you’ll know what works best for your art. But there is a lot of trial and error to go through in the first few years, so expect that and see everything as a learning experience.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
I can completely relate to the feeling of isolation that many artists experience. When I moved to Austin, I was 7 months pregnant, didn’t know anyone, started a brand-new career and worked out of my home. There wasn’t much opportunity to make friends or even have colleagues. Once I got my bearings around motherhood, I looked up art organizations in the area. I found Women and Their Work Contemporary Art Gallery which is also a non-profit. I volunteered there every Friday for about six months. It was great, I learned a lot about the operations of the gallery, met many artists, discovered their art and got a good sense of the community that I had surrounding me. This was a great stepping stone for me, and also how I landed my first group exhibit and first sale!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can check out my website and social media for any upcoming shows, julieahmad.com and @julieahmad_art. I show at both East & West Austin Studio Tours. This year I have focused on working exclusively with other female artist in the spirit of lifting each other up rather than tearing each other down. The results have been phenomenal. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many talented, hardworking women.

Femme-EASTa is the name of our group I’m showing with this November for EAST at the Austin School of Film. Our theme is to tear down social constructs surrounding women like sexuality, body image, occupation, language, marriage, etc. Each artist will focus on a topic that personally inspires them.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Cori Baker

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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