• Julie Ahmad

Q+A with the Women of West

Updated: May 9

Warning! This year's Women of West lineup is hot with awe-inspiring #bossbabes. Our Women of West dish on their upcoming body of work, challenges they've faced as women in the arts and advice for aspiring artists.

[If you haven't already, RSVP to our after hours concert and check out the event details here.]

Landscapes on Birchwood Panels

"This is something that needs to change," Moore says.

I work primarily in oil painting on birch wood panels. My work explores the atmosphere, nostalgia, and architecture of locations. As a native Texan who spent some time living in California, I am inspired by the ever-changing landscapes of both locations. Specifically, my paintings oscillate between exploring the cityscapes of Los Angeles, Austin and the highways in between.

I absolutely LOVE the energy of Women of West. We build each other up, we have fun and we do what we do best — share our work with the community.

It has taken me about 3 years in the art marketplace to find a comfortable pricing for my work. I think a lot of women artists struggle with knowing the value of the work they do. We sometimes under price ourselves in comparison to male artists on the market. I've read this quote recently that says something like "know your value, then add tax" and that is something that has stuck with me.

I come from an art school background where they teach you everything they can about conceptualizing art and engaging in the art world, but they don't introduce you to Quickbooks, Square or how to set up your sales tax permit. I had to literally teach myself how to build and run a business. I had to learn it all on my own. I also reached out to my fellow artists for advice and this led me to take a local pricing workshop for makers that evolved how I run my business and decide my prices. Over the last year especially, I have learned to understand the basic numbers and cost of doing business, and that has greatly crystalized my understanding of a comfortable price for my work. All in all, utilizing the resources around me has given me the tools to overcome challenges I have faced as an artist.

Know your worth, then add tax!!

I would love love love to show more work on a national scale. I've shown a bit in LA and in NY, but I would love to do a pop-up exhibit at Art Basel. I would also love to show in Denver and New Orleans. The art scenes there have an awesome energy that I feel aligns with Austin.

Contemporary Beadwork

Lys hopes to see more Latino representation, especially for female Latina artists!

This year, I will be using traditional techniques to create a 3D sculptural series by using beads, crystals, fabric, and recycled materials. My new work will include whimsical objects, puppets and colorful works that inspire curiosity and wonder.

I am a part of Women of West because I love being a part of a community of strong women who are making their dreams come true. Collaborating with each woman from this group inspires me. I am most looking forward to meeting new people, seeing familiar faces and creating an amazing show with these wonderful ladies.

My biggest challenge is having confidence in my work AND pricing it accordingly.  

I rely on my artist community to help me through and just jump in and ask for my worth. Self-worth and art is a tricky combination.  I love what I do and at times it has felt wrong to ask for money in exchange for something that I love to do so much. Now I realize that my art makes people happy and that it is a fair, worthy and beautiful exchange.

Practice every day and make sure you're having fun.  If you're not having fun, it's not worth it.

I would absolutely love to do a residency abroad.  It seems like the ideal way of traveling and working.

Mixed Media + Cyanotypes

"Most folks might have to stop and think about this for a minute and then, they most likely won’t be able to name female artists beyond Frida, Georgia and Yayoi," Youssef says.

This year, I am presenting a body of work around imagination and introspection. These pieces are layered with found & vintage paper, ink, acrylic, spray paint, graphite, gold leaf, symbolism and pattern.  

I will also be showcasing a contemporary collection of cyanotype meditations made with local plants and wildflowers. These botanical vignettes are a deep shade of indigo and white. I love the entire process of creating these, including the long walks in nature with my dog, that moment of encountering the plants and flowers in nature, picking one or two (and leaving many!), carefully pressing them between the pages of heavy books, arranging them into vignettes, and finally, capturing them with the alternative photography that is the cyanotype process.

I am looking forward to creating a welcoming and interactive space filled with art, conversation, music and talented female artists who love to meet new people.

My creative path encompasses both dance and fine art. I also have an established professional career in User Experience software design (UX). It has been a challenge to balance my practice of creating fine art and my dance performance career with my UX career. My tech job funds my creative path. When I was deep in the dance world, I would design software during the day and attend weeknight rehearsals or training classes and go to conferences or performances on the weekends.  On Mondays, I would come back to lead meetings, return to deadlines, and manage my never-ending inbox. My vacation days were spent with my dance group or on tour with Govinda and with Thievery Corporation. I definitely felt like I lived in two very different worlds and fully engaged with both the left and right side of my brain.

I moved away from the rigorous dance & performance schedule to a fine art practice that is more sustainable at this time in my life.

There are different paths to achieving a goal. I made my way with a job and a creative path on the side and others are able to focus exclusively on the creative path. There is no right or wrong way. Find what works with your aptitudes, opportunities and comfort levels.

It’s been a dream of mine to experience the sights, sounds, colors, and cultures of Morocco. I’m currently making plans to visit in 2020!


"I'd like to see more women as producers, award-winning songwriters, and in other male-dominated positions in the music industry. Our ears deserve to hear more of them," Pribble says.

I am performing stripped down versions of songs off my upcoming EP Second Movement revealing where the songs started before the recording process. I will also talk about my songwriting process and the story behind the music.

I am looking forward to performing again in an intimate setting and being among an amazing group of female artists.

I've struggled with confidence and navigating music relationships. Music is personal and the line between professional and personal can get blurry. I had to get out of my own way before I could handle the challenges that commonly arise in the music world - like band members showing up late or stoned, not knowing their parts in our final rehearsal before a show, scattering sheet music all over the stage for a performance, trying to make a move on me and the awkwardness that ensues after they feel rejected or I feel rejected. I've faced it all and it made me feel like no one took me or my music seriously.

First and foremost, I had to take myself seriously. I am still working on confidence and empowering myself, but I'm closer than I was. I've learned to set boundaries and it has led me to work with some amazingly supportive musicians, mentors and producers. Also, knowledge is power. The more experience I gain, time I take to learn things I don't know and continue to be humbled, the more I sing and write things that matter to me and that I'm proud of.

Tell YOUR story. And give yourself time away from the noise. Of course we're all influenced by everything we consume and we should honor those influences, but stepping away from it all can help you create something uniquely your own.

I am working on releasing this EP and putting a promotion plan in place so people will hear it! Up next is planning the album art and choreographing for the ballet videos. I am so excited to see everything come together and share my story.

Large-Scale Abstract Paintings

No more apologies!

I will be showing my black and blue series and glittered pet portraits.

I love the energy I get from working with other creatives. Being an artist at times can be quite isolating, this is a way for me to balance that out and nourish my extroverted side. I’m also very committed to uplifting and building a strong community which is why I choose to collaborate with other female artists. Too many times I see talent go wasted because of a lack of support. There is no doubt, we are stronger together.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “Oh how nice. You’re an artist…your husband must do really well.” It’s so belittling for people to automatically assume your husband is enabling your “cute hobby” while you gallivant around shopping and eating bonbons all day. The truth is I work well over 50 hours a week, have three employees and hustle to make my business grow completely autonomous from my husband’s paycheck. Not only am I a full-time artist, but I’m a creative businesswoman rockin’ my entrepreneurial game. I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve built in less than five years.

I surround myself with supportive and encouraging individuals, those that belittle what I’m doing are clearly simply compensating for a deficit within themselves. There just isn’t enough time in my day for that energy.

It doesn’t help anyone else by remaining small, shine your light and shine it big!

So excited to tell you what’s next… I created a non-profit called Art Boss, ATX, which provides business skills and entrepreneurial training to artists by pairing emerging and established artists in the form of a guided mutually beneficial 1-year internship. In addition to offering a guided curriculum, our programs will provide artists with studio space, experiential learning, one-on-one mentorship with an established artist, and opportunities to show their work in two large-scale Art Shows. Ultimately, our programs

will launch artists into successful business owners.  I can’t wait to see the results and benefits that the programs will have on the community here in Austin! Stay tuned!

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