This week’s feature is of artist Andrea Nakhla. I’ve been a fan of Andrea’s art for quite some time now and I was so happy to do this feature of her. Visiting her studio and watching her paint was so much fun. Watching people paint will always be one of my favorite things in the world. I had such a lovely time, she’s so warm and funny, and has such a beautiful space.
What do ya do? (share a little about you and your art)
I’m a visual artist, mostly figurative painting, I have been working on animation and playing around with computer art too recently.
When did you know you wanted to pursue what you are doing?
I’ve loved making things for as long as I can remember - I think it is beneficial in everyone’s life to have some sort of creative outlet. I started pursuing painting with more time and intention about 5 years ago.
What might you be doing if not art or what you’re currently doing?
Hard to say, maybe working for a non-profit, being a stay at home mom or a musician.
Did you go to college, if so what did you study?
I didn’t go, I spent a while traveling, volunteering and interning and this gave me enough of a start to become a video editor and graphic designer without college. Once I was able to get steady freelance work doing that it gave me enough money and time to start painting. I would have loved to go to art school for painting, but it has been really great to be able to live without stressing about that crazy amount of debt.
Have you ever almost given up on your art? If so, what kept you going?
Sometimes I get lazy or worried about money and paint less, but when I come back to it I remember how happy and grounded it makes me feel, or sometimes it makes me feel frustrated, but the payoff once you make something you are proud of, that says what you want, or feels how you want it is worth the effort. I do think it is important to constantly re-evaluate what makes you happy in life, and maybe the thing you thought you wanted you don’t really anymore.
How do you move through fear?
Try to see things in perspective, call a friend and make them be a free therapist, listen to Ram Dass or Alan Watts talks.
Best advice you’ve received?
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.”― Neil deGrasse Tyson
“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.”― Joseph Campbell
When do you feel the most inspired / creative?
Late at night.
If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or not) who would it be, and why?
Hm I don’t know, anyone who is an artist or thinker I admire I could find out pretty much anything I want from an interview or book they wrote and these people tend to be pretty self-centered in person maybe not the best dinner guests, like I feel like I would probably be disappointed with the interaction. I grew up very Christian so I guess a dinner with Jesus would be interesting to clear some things up.
Book(s) everyone should read:
Immortality by Milan Kundera
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (or anything by him really)
A Happy Death by Albert Camus
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
Definitely an introvert, I get my energy from being alone.
Any funny/strange first date stories?
Once I got dinner with a guy who was borrowing his friend's electric car. He arrived late saying the car was almost dead and couldn’t figure out how to charge it. We tried plugging it in outside at the restaurant but no luck. Spent the rest of the night driving around on like 3% trying but striking out on places that google maps said had car chargers. Finally, we ended up parking it outside my apartment building on the sidewalk plugged in from the hallway through the front door.
Where do you like to shop?
I’ve been shopping a lot on the Poshmark app, I’ve been trying to shop more second-hand and I usually can’t be bothered to leave the house.
Who / what do you think you were in a past life?
In a way, my ancestors.
Where are your happy places? Real or imaginary
My studio, Echo Park lake or any warm place with good light, a lot of trees and plants.
The last funny or interesting dream you remember having?
Hm it’s not gonna sound as great as it was but I had a dream where I escaped from my body through a hole in my forehead.
What’s your sign (sun, moon, rising if you know ‘em) Does it mean anything to you?
My sign is Cancer and it seems to be pretty accurate, emotional, sentimental, nurturing, homebody.
Do you believe in soul mates?
Not in the idea that there is one perfect person for you, but I think there are people who you are naturally very attracted to and suited to live a peaceful life with, and if you find this and are both able to be emotionally open and honest about everything, feel safe and understood and love and put that person before yourself that’s a soul mate.
What has been a force of inspiration in your life?
The internet can be very inspiring when I use it in the right way (which is hard to do and not just get distracted). But living in a time where you have access to hundreds of thousands of museums worth of art and most of human knowledge is pretty incredible. Of course, seeing a painting in real life is a whole other inspiring experience, but the internet definitely sped up my art education coming from a small town where I didn’t grow up going to many museums. Another amazing thing to know is in LA if you have a library card you can download tons of books and audiobooks for free on your phone / tablet.
Are you messy or neat?
Are you a morning or night person?
Do you think everything happens for a reason?
I don’t think so, but you can probably find meaning in it if you want, it’s human to see our lives as a cohesive narrative and notice patterns and coincidences.
Something you’d like to learn:
I would love to learn 3D animation. Also, I wish I could play the drums or piano really well, but I don't see myself actually going through the process of learning them.
Feet on my pillow, seeing people brush their teeth, air conditioning on too high in the summer.
Any rituals you do before creating/performing?
Is procrastinating a ritual?
Advice to younger self:
Do you like to cook? If so, what are some of your favorite things to make?
Yes, especially for other people, when it’s just me it seems like a waste of time. I’m still on a pretty basic cooking level though; quiches, Pasta, Pizza, Wraps. I like baking more, my current fav is banana zucchini bread.
Are there any foods you dislike?
I don’t like meat that much and I hate the taste of cumin.
Sparkling Water, Smoothies
Are you good at impressions? If so, who can you do?
What are some of your favorite products: