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Featured Artist: Julie Ahmad

Meet Featured Artist, Julie Ahmad!

Ahmad's artwork is on display now until January 6 at our S Lamar location, 3003 S Lamar Blvd.

An East Coast native, Ahmad grew up in Connecticut and then moved to New York City in her mid-20's to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). She remained in NYC for seven years, going on to work in a denim design house on 7th Avenue after graduation. Much of her painting style is influenced by her time spent in the Big Apple.

After leaving NYC, Ahmad and her husband moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where they lived for three years. At that point, she traded in her fashion design chops for a career in real estate investment.

Upon falling pregnant, Ahmad and her husband decided to move to Austin to raise their growing family. When we spoke with Ahmad she told us, "I can’t think of a better place to raise a family than Austin, and I feel really grateful to be able to live here."

During her pregnancy with her daughter, Aaliyah, Ahmad discovered a strong desire to work with her hands. She felt a correlation between the act of creation happening within her body and the need to express that outwardly.

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Despite her background, Ahmad had never fallen in love with fashion design as a career, but she found that what she learned about the use of color and texture from a design perspective translated into other art forms, and painting became second nature.

With all of its precise measurements and unforgiving rules, Ahmad found the fashion design industry to be rigid. Abstract art is just the opposite, and that gave her a sense of creative freedom. "Abstract is perfectly imperfect. There’s something about it that represents being kinder to yourself," Ahmad told us.

Now that Aaliyah is in preschool, Ahmad has become a full-time artist and employs part-time Marketing Director, Camila Flores. It means a lot to her to be able to mentor and nurture another person's career and she hopes to be able to make the position full-time in the future.

Being an abstract artist, the interpretation of Ahmad's paintings is always up to the individual, and she enjoys hearing the varied perspectives on what her paintings represent.

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Ahmad is a Kerbey Enthusiasm card carrier, and you can find her and her husband dining at our South Lamar location one-to-two times per week, which is how she found out about the opportunity to display her work on our walls.

In addition to her show at Kerbey Lane, Ahmad's paintings are often displayed at West Elm. There will be a West Elm pop-up show featuring her work in the near future. As for additional shows, Ahmad is currently taking a break to focus mainly on licensing her prints in order to free up more time to paint.

When Ahmad isn't busy being an artist, she's getting involved at her daughter's Montessori school or busy planning her next theme party. She joked that party guests always know they have to dress up if they're coming over to her house. Ahmad formed a group called "The Badass Moms" (a play on the movie Bad Moms) that brings together mothers in her community to socialize and celebrate their individuality, apart from their role as caretakers.

Community building has become important to Ahmad being that she and her husband don't have family in Austin. As she put it, "We don’t have family here, so we have to make our family."

You can see more of Ahmad's artwork on her website: julieahmad.com, or on her Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest profiles. All of her works displayed at Kerbey Lane Cafe are for sale. Questions for Julie? Send her an email.