We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashiya Patel and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashiya, why did you pursue a creative career?
I grew up in an artistically limiting environment, but like many other artists, I had nothing else to do but think and draw, so I did my best with what I had. I reflected on this period of my life as I neared college applications, and what I was going to do next. I was afraid of the isolation that I might feel, and didn’t know about the opportunities I would have access too. However, when I thought about getting a “normal” job and imagined what my life would look like, I would find myself fast-forwarding to the end of the day, to the weekend. And I would always see myself taking off my work clothes and finally getting the time to create.

I was afraid of burning out, of being the starving artist I was told I would be, of never being able to come home to a studio, of waiting for the future. But its a risk I chose to take, and one that I would choose to take again and again, just for the chance to do something I love surrounded by people like me.

Anyone who has learned about art knows how easily interpreting and creating art changes your perception and appreciation for life. Those observations find its way into every conversation, into your sight and touch and taste and smell. Eventually, I couldn’t think of anything purely from a non-creative standpoint. There was something artistic in everything, and it brings meaning and joy to anything that I do, and I don’t think I could live any other way.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Breaking out of a cycle of praise and the creation of purely technical art is something that I am proud to have achieved. Being surrounded by people who only valued traditional techniques made it difficult to create meaningful but less realistic artworks. Centering my art around using technical skill as a vehicle to create instead of the end goal has been a large shift in the way concepts for my work are created and the way that I go about creating my work.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The most fun that I have in a place like New Jersey is in the quiet moments. Visiting the Sourland mountains or the beach at night, exploring the farms and diverse landscapes throughout the day and week is something that reminds me of the power of stillness and consistency. In that same vein of observation, People watching with someone else is very indicative of what perception is influenced by, especially in such a short time. Slow moments and appreciation of the small things is what makes New Jersey such a peaceful place to roam.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The support that I received from my family and friends is something that I will never forget. Especially coming from an immigrant family with parents who were initially doubtful, the support that I received when deciding to make art my career was truly transformative. Whenever I need to take a step back, I know that the people I love are right there with me and are a constant source of motivation, and they are the people that make my dreams a possibility.

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