She Holds the Key to Knowing
I'm so excited to introduce you to the incredible, soul stirring artwork of Soraya Nulliah. I discovered her Etsy shop last week when creating a Fine Art Friday treasury. She agreed to do this interview and it's been such a pleasure getting to know more about her and her work. Enjoy!
Heart Wide Open
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a wife, mommy, artist, seeker, creative soul. I got married later in life and gave birth the same month I turned 40..YIKES!! I used to be a free spirit nomad type and now I am free spirit homebody type! I love painting, reading, art, photography, blogging, learning, running, baking and most of all…spending time with my family.
How/when did you get interested in art?
I started drawing and painting in my mid-teens but without any support and encouragement, I pushed these dreams aside…tucked them deep inside my heart. All through my 20’s they were like a long forgotten dream while I went through a lot of…soul searching…and the mending of my soul. Then, when I turned 30, I spent 4 months traveling by myself through India. This pilgrimage led me back to mySELF and to my art. After that I made a commitment to making art an integral part of my life…taking classes and workshops, painting huge canvases and reading everything I could.
Letting Go Takes Courage
What inspires you when you create?
What truly inspires me is this journey of life that we are all on. We are all so fragile and vulnerable yet, paradoxically, resilient as well. I try to express that in my art. I am also inspired by both Eastern and Western aesthetics. I love the colors of India and the lush, curvaceous forms. Equally, I love 60’s inspired prints and Western art. I combine both of these elements in my art.
What kind of environment do you work in?
Right now I share my studio with a guest bedroom so it’s a pretty cramped space. I have a desk, bookshelf and closet that holds my art supplies, books, collage etc. We are in the process of moving so I am very hopeful that I will have my very own studio space soon. I am planning it all out already!
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Oh boy! This is a difficult one because there are so many fabulous artists. I love Frieda Kahlo for her strong images and deep rich soul. I love Georgia O’ Keefe for her vivid paintings and her writings. I love Van Gogh, Modigliani, Klee…African sculptures and masks…South Indian Chola Bronzes. What draws me to an artist is their ability to be true to their vision, to be vulnerable and authentic and to bring into existence something we never would have seen otherwise.
What has been the highlight of your creative career so far?
I have a couple. I had a solo exhibition a few years back and that was tremendously rewarding. It dealt with violence against women in the Indian community (a huge problem) while providing avenues for change and empowerment. I absolutely loved every part of bringing this whole show to life. Everything from the inception to the final exhibition that included 26 paintings, a strong artist statement and raising money for the Sexual Assault Center of Edmonton. Another highlight is the opening of my Etsy shop. This is something I have wanted to do for so long but all those nagging fears kept me from doing it. I was always waiting for the “perfect” time that never came or until I had more paintings or… So I finally just jumped in and it means a lot to me personally; just the act of believing in myself, daring to be vulnerable and putting myself out there.
Do you have a message that you'd like to translate through your art?
Definitely! My works are very female-centered and they speak of joy, hope, empowerment, faith, love…but I also address all of our broken parts and pieces as well. I strongly believe that when we are vulnerable and authentic, when we have the courage to share all of who we are…therein lies the power of transformation and inspiration. I aspire to show strength and vulnerability in my paintings…I think life requires that we are both. Each of my paintings tells a story of the deepest parts of our souls…of what it is to be human. I hope my work touches others to speak their truth and be inspired.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of being an artist?
One of my biggest challenges right now is time!! I have a toddler who needs my constant attention. I have to really schedule my time and follow through (no procrastinating!) Another challenge is learning about the business side of art. I just opened up my Etsy store and there is so much to learn! Like most artists, I would rather be in my studio painting. But it is also rewarding and I am trying to look at the whole business side of art as a creative process as well. I am very committed to both my family and my art and that is difficult to balance.
What are some of your creative goals? How might they intersect with your personal goals?
I would love to have a solo (or group) exhibition! It is so thrilling and rewarding to conceive of a whole show and execute it. I love planning and completing every little detail…I am a huge planner! Also, I just opened up my Etsy store so I hope to focus on building it up. I would also love to write a book about the creative process. All of these goals fit into my larger personal goals which is to connect with others through my art. It is my deepest hope that I can use my creative voice to inspire others to find and use their creative voices.
my website www.sorayanulliah.commy Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/sorayanulliah
Thank you so much Soraya for your art and your heart. :)