Text by Felly Loi | Interview by Jessica Ye
Breaking creative thresholds one at a time, there seems to be no boundaries that American artist AUNIA KAHN can’t overcome as a multi-disciplinary creative entrepreneur.
Based in Shiloh, Illinois, Kahn is an established figurative artist, photographer, curator and inspirational speaker.
She is also the owner of Alexi Era Gallery in Mascoutah in Illinois, United States, whose mission is to create unique, thought-provoking projects that will showcase the best talent from around the world and at the same time, empower the community, locally and globally.
Her current success is a living evident as to how despite the many odds that could possibly go against your favor, one can triumph above them all.
Faced with a traumatic past during her childhood days alongside years battling a medical illness, Kahn’s bravery in prevailing over her tumultuous and rocky life experiences and setbacks has certainly allowed her to reap the best reward – a career that she loves wholeheartedly, and one that she never thought was possible in the first place.
Here she shares her the interesting dibs of her artistic journey so far:
CT: How did you come to create your figurative style in art?
AK: As a child I had always loved art but never aspired to be an artist even though it was my life. However, when I got older and got very ill, art became a refuge for me. In this, I worked on mostly self portraiture as I tried to get answers and find a way to recover from my affliction. 11.5 years later I am healing, finally have a diagnosis and art saved me.
CT: Can you talk about your interest in tarot?
AK: Years ago I was introduced to tarot as art by another artist that wanted me to model for a couple pieces in a deck he created and as I look further into the history and iconography I fell in love with tarot. I wanted to learn tarot and what better way than to create your own deck one card at a time while studying them.
CT: What are your own experiences when it comes to tarot card readings? Do you believe in them?
AK: I don’t think it’s a matter of belief for me but more a matter of how symbolism, the card meanings and how you connect with a deck comes about. Personally, I find that when I do readings for myself it is almost always in alignment to what I need to learn or know. To me tarot is not a tool for fortune telling but a way to navigate life while bringing in new thoughts and ideas.
CT: Some artists have special getaways where they gain their inspiration from. What’s yours?
AK: For me, I love to read and explore nature. I do a ton of photography outside and that is where my soul takes me to get inspired.
CT: Apart from creating your own art, you are also running your own art gallery, housing the works of other contemporary artists. How do you juggle your time?
AK: This is a question that comes up a lot. The gallery, publishing company, the Create and Inspire project and doing art takes up most of my time. Right now, I am still trying to find a delicate balance to do all these things. One thing that helps is a huge wall calendar (3 feet wide), my daily planner and a white board for brainstorming. I also make sure I take time for myself and spend time with my dog.
CT: Would you like to talk about your latest pieces of art? How different are they as compared to your older works?
AK: The last piece work I did was entitled “Obscure Sorrow” which seemed to take me in a whole new direction as a creator. To be frank, I am not even sure how to put a deeper explanation of that into words. When I look at the work I can see a different sense of direction however, I go throught that time and time again as I move through new pieces of art.
CT: Can you share with us some of the main highlights in your art career and how have they shaped you as an artist?
AK: My whole career has been a highlight to me. Meaning, there is not one thing I could hold higher than the other since each opportunity, award, exhibition, connection, interview, feature in a magazine has brought me to where I am today. Each thing counts. If I had to pick something as a highlight to talk about; it would be that I am honored to do this for a living providing me with the rewarding experience of being able to connect with people through art and give back/help other artists with “Create & Inspire” and “Alexi Era Gallery.
CT: If you could turn back time, is there anything that you would have done differently?
AK: I am very pleased with the path I have taken on this journey, yet I feel if I would have know better I would have been a lot less fearful about self-expression a lot earlier on. There are no apologies for art and what I or anyone else does as a creator as long as no one is being hurt (not meaning feelings – I more mean physically mauled or something morally wrong). Fear is a waste. Do what you love and do it without any apologies.
CT: Who is your muse in life?
AK: My muse has always been the trials and tribulations I have faced as a young girl and adult. I always wanted to hit them head on and art was the perfect platform to do so.
Discover more of Aunia Kahn‘s artworks here.