We had the good fortune of connecting with Neena Buxani and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Neena, how have you been keeping yourself busy during quarantine?
There is definitely not a shortage of things to do in quarantine. My family is home, which means I’m overseeing the homeschooling for my boys. At first, we did a lot of baking and puzzles as a family. Then, we slowly moved into a more settled routine when the novelty wore off, and we realized that this was going to be our new normal for sometime. So now, I’m running a lot as a form of exercise and meditation and as a way to get some solitude. I’m experimenting with new dishes to try and make home-life more interesting. I’m also trying out new painting styles. Since my art shows have been cancelled or postponed, I’m using this time to explore different techniques.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I use vibrant color, patterns, texture and line to create emotionally uplifting paintings. My artwork consists of gemstone abstracts and representational work featuring birds, flowers, and goddesses. When I’m planning my next painting, I like to explore what I would want to see on my walls. Sometimes I start with which colors I want to celebrate in that moment, and then choose the style and subject. Sometimes I choose the subject, and then decide on the emotion I want to evoke. I aim to create work that has multiple looking points, giving the viewer the option to get lost in the folds and patterns in the painting. Pursuing art as a career has always been a dream of mine. I’ve studied Speech Communications, Advertising, Social Work, and Gemology and had multiple careers as a Substance Abuse Counselor, Loan Officer, Jewelry Store Owner, and GM of a Hotel to name a few. I just always felt like there was a hole in my heart just waiting to be filled. I started showing my work in 2014 on a part-time basis and slowly I was able to transition into a more full-time situation. I wish I could say it was easy or has gotten easier. When I started, I didn’t really have a plan in mind. To me, it was all about getting to create my work and show it. Selling it was a definite plus because that would give me the opportunity to paint more. As a result, I would show my work anywhere I was given the opportunity and take on any commission I was asked to paint. Sometimes I look back and wish I had done more research or planned things out better, but the path I chose has shaped me into the artist I am today. Is that a good thing, I have no idea. All I know is that I’m figuring it all out as I go, and I’m trying my best to enjoy the journey and process of it all. I think the most challenging aspect of choosing art as a profession is that your earnings are not consistent. One month could be incredible and then the next just the opposite. So, what I’m learning is to create multiple avenues of income. Options could be teaching workshops, offering reproductions of my work, selling my art in different venues, doing pop-up events, painting live, showing at art fairs, or selling on online platforms. I’ve found that there’s no right answer, and every artist has to figure out what works best for them. I for one am going to keep pushing forward; doing my best to grow as an artist; and entrepreneur; and appreciating the journey along the way.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
If friends were visiting Austin (prior to the pandemic), I’d have plenty of places to take them. We would eat at many of the new and eclectic restaurants in East Austin and at some of the staples like Uchi and Sway. I’d take them to the Blanton Museum of Art, Canopy Art Galleries and the Galleries on West 6th Street. We’d get oysters and champagne at Clark’s and go shopping at the Domain. We’d also visit Milk and Honey Spa and go for a walk on Town Lake. I’d take them on a speedboat or pontoon on Lake Austin and go bar hopping Downtown to West 6th and 2nd Street. We’d go to a couple concerts at ACL Live and the 360 Amphitheater and maybe watch a play at the Long Center. We’d definitely get drinks at the JW Marriott and the W Downtown. I’d also take them down Congress to visit the historic Capitol area to get a feel of how Austin started and emerged into the Tech Town it is today.
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?
My husband, children and sister have definitely been a huge source of encouragement and love during the ups and downs I have experienced as an emerging artist. Without their push for me to keep going, especially when things have gotten pretty rough, I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. My friends have also helped me by attending my shows, promoting me to their friends and/or purchasing art. There’s also the artist friends I have met along the way, the collectors who have purchased my work and my followers on social media who have all shown support and encouragement. Organizations like Big Medium of Austin, TX, the Round Rock Arts Council, Austin Art Garage, Warden Art Agency, the Creative Art Society of Austin and ATX Gals, to name a few, have all given me the opportunity to get my work out of my studio and onto the walls of exhibits. Books like “Art Inc.” and “Find Your Artistic Voice” by Lisa Congdon have served as both a source of inspiration and information. As you can see, following my dream to pursue art as a career has not been one that I could have done on my own.
Christina Q Photography