Artist Spotlight – Julie Ahmad
In our latest Artist Spotlight, we spoke to Julie Ahmad. She is the creator one of our worldwide bestsellers Mojo Risen. We spoke to her about her passions and her inspiration behind her new pieces. So sit tight, this is going to be a good one! Be sure to shop for her new collection here.
WHAT ARE YOUR PASSIONS OTHER THAN ART?
I’m very passionate about social issues around feminism and equality. You can see a lot of my beliefs expressed in typography on my Instagram account, @julieahmad_art. I hope to inspire others to follow their own path and be brave enough to make choices that are right for them rather than what our society deems appropriate or inappropriate. I believe being authentic and true to one’s self will support an individual’s happiness, leading to a healthier and happier world as a whole.
IS ART SOMETHING YOU HAVE BEEN INTERESTED IN FROM A YOUNG AGE? WHEN DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN IT?
I have always been interested in art even as a child. I always rocked the 96-pack of crayons and going into an art supply store still makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop.
IS THIS YOUR FULL-TIME JOB? WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE ART?
I am a full-time visual artist, but I do consider myself a house manager as well
as a full-time parent to our almost 5-year-old little girl, Aaliyah. I worked in fashion for a denim house in NYC and also dabbled in real estate investing for a few years.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST?
I love the freedom to take my business in the creative direction I choose. I love being my own boss and captain of my own ship. There is nothing more difficult for me than working on a project I don’t believe in. I value authenticity so highly in all aspects that I simply must be a leading my own vessel, and being an artist/entrepreneur gives me that freedom.
WHAT IS THE MOST INDISPENSABLE ITEM IN YOUR STUDIO?
That is the hardest question, there are so many items that qualify as indispensable, but if I have to only name one it would be my 15 something-year-old easel. I’ve tried to replace it with other fancy, more modern models, but I always go back to old faithful. It’s just an A-Frame easel I bought in the early 2000s when I got back into painting as a hobby. You can see the love it has endured throughout the years by the inch thick layer of dried paint stuck to it.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION WHEN CREATING ‘‘MOJO RISEN I & II’’?
My husband and I moved into a small 2-bedroom apartment with our daughter for 6 months while we remodeled our home. We work from home, so trying to cram both our living and workspace into a small apartment was less than ideal. He set up shop in the living room, and I set up shop in our bedroom (my supplies and easel was actually even on his side of the bed, yikes!). It took me a long time to settle into the space with a 2-½ year old and then quickly turn around and move out again back into our permanent home. Not much work was created in those 6 months; I think Mojo Risen I & II were the only two pieces created in that time frame. There was this sweet spot when I felt I was finally getting back into the groove — hence I was getting my mojo back — and that was when the two pieces were born.
DO YOU HAVE ANY STYLING TIPS FOR PEOPLE LOOKING TO USE YOUR PIECE IN THEIR SPACES?
When designing a space there is always one item that serves as the inspiration piece for the room. More often than not, it is a piece of artwork. My suggestion is to keep the furniture a neutral color but stay in the tone of the painting i.e. either warm or cool. Then pick up a color or two from the painting that you love and use that color for your accent pieces like your pillows, throw blankets and a few trinkets here and there. Keeping the bulk of the space neutral will allow you to update the room and easily give it a refresh every so often.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LATEST COLLECTION?
My latest collection utilizes lots of metallic rose gold & silver foiling, texture paste, and the spray bottle. I wanted to keep the color palettes simple by using different shades of the same color rather than a wider palette. I recently moved into a new studio space, which gives me about 3x the amount of space that I used to have while painting in my home studio. Now, I’m able to work on a few pieces at once and am enjoying making a few versions of the same color palette in different shapes and sizes. It’s working out fantastically and providing my patrons with more choices from each micro-collection.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT SUNDAY?
So I realize many people will look at me sideways, but I really don’t like Sundays; it’s my least favorite day of the week and more often than not I can’t wait for it to be over. I feel ok to relax with family and friends on a Saturday because I’ve worked all week, but when Sunday comes around―on top of everything in town being closed―I’m so antsy to get back to work. So my perfect Sunday is a Monday when I can finally get back to work and be productive.