Today we’d like to introduce you to Priya Koul.
Hi Priya, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am an engineer by education and experience, who turned into a full-time artist to express my creativity in ways other than my corporate career. I live in Scottsdale, Arizona with my husband and two children.
I have always loved art (mainly painting and sketching) ever since I was a child, and it has always been my go-to activity for relaxation and expressing my creativity. I grew up in a talented family where art (in all forms) was expressed and appreciated.
In high school along with art, I had an engineering bent of mind and ended up doing my undergrad in engineering. This led me to jobs in Information technology and eventually a successful career and a senior leadership position in corporate America. During this time, I continued my artwork on and off and would create pieces as gifts for friends, colleagues, and family.
My last position in the corporate world was as the Vice-President of Engineering at American Express leading a global team of over 500 people. This was until last year (Sep. 2021) when I decided to take a big step in my life – to take a break and jump into art full time. I quit my corporate role and formed my art company Zouve. This has been one of the best decisions I have made.
The artwork that I now do is very different from what I did as a child. I do not paint as much anymore. I mainly use wood, fabric, and mirrors. The switch to woodwork happened by coincidence. I was looking for a suitable frame for a large silk painting and realized that what I wanted was not readily available, and most custom frames were extremely expensive. That is when I decided to try making it myself. Little did I know that this was my first step into a new phase of my life – a completely new learning journey.
Having made my first frame, I learned about all the tools and the different kinds of wood. That sense of successfully “making” something myself injected a burst of energy in me, and there was no looking back. Then I started experimenting with different materials – initially to create artwork for our own home, and then I started making them for friends and family as gifts.
I was encouraged a lot by my friends that I should grow my art as a business. However, with a full-time job and young children (at the time), I was not so sure that I would be able to do justice to it as a business.
Now I am happy to run Zouve and create what inspires me. I also create custom pieces for homes based on the existing home décor. It has been an interesting journey learning how to set up a company, and create a logo, a website, business cards, and leaflets, in addition to just creating the artwork.
I am very thankful to my family for being very supportive and encouraging throughout this journey of mine.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Art is a very personal thing, and it is subjective. As they say, “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”.
There is no guarantee that others would like what I like, and everyone would like the same art piece. Also, partly because of these reasons, there is no guarantee that art will sell, and will generate a steady income.
I have been able to sell art via social media awareness, and word of mouth. It’s been mainly, friends and acquaintances. I am yet to exhibit the artwork in an art gallery or sell it consistently.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I like to create pieces that one would not find in a store – something that is not manufactured on a large scale – all my pieces are my own designs, each inspired by a story or a thought from my life.
I have a keen interest in social psychology which pulls me towards understanding the human mind; how it is affected by situations; how it absorbs and responds to experiences; This curiosity led me to go deep within to understand my own self and people around. All my artwork is connected to my spiritual quest and helps me move forward in the direction of continuous learning and growth. Each piece is inspired by a thought or a concept that I have experienced as a human – and I try to express that emotion through my creations.
A couple of pieces that are very close to my heart are “Roots” (the maple leaf) & “Reflections” (the abstract mirror art). The story behind these pieces is on my website (www.zouve.art). These were my early creations and first of their kind I had made.
I specialize in creating multi-media art using wood, fabric, silk flowers and leaves, mirrors, and beads. Each piece can be customized (colors and size) based on my clients’ needs. I have made wooden artwork as small as 12 inches to large pieces that are about 6 ft wide.
I also design and create customized pieces based on the existing colors, theme, and décor of your home.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
I would love for all readers to check out my artwork and share their thoughts and feedback and spread the word as I am looking to scale my business. I am looking for opportunities in the greater Phoenix area – galleries, exhibitions, and art fairs – where I can exhibit my artwork and share it with the community, and hope people will buy it.
I’d also love to connect with other artists who make wood art, apprentice with them, and learn from their experiences.