An upcoming Austin artist finds her style after leaving the corporate world.
by Delilah Alvarado, Photography by William Pepping and courtesy of Pratiksha Muir
The artistic style of Pratiksha Muir combines elegant with edgy, using brushstrokes against canvas to form portraits with a distinct look. Ranging from classically sized pop art paintings to toweringly tall abstract works, Muir’s pieces are impressive both in their scale and creative spirit.
While Muir’s artwork gives the impression she has been into art her whole life, that’s not the case. Muir took a risk in 2017, when she decided to leave her job in sales and to pursue a full-time career in art.
“I’ve always been a little bit of a hobby hopper,” Muir says. “I moved to Chicago for a job, and I didn’t have any friends there besides work people. Chicago gets really dark and cold in the winter, and I was just so consumed with my work at that time that I needed some sort of outlet.”
She started her journey into painting following along with art tutorials on YouTube, and quickly her initial interest became a full-time hobby outside of work. She eventually gained the courage to post her art online, where she received recognition and commissions for her work. Soon, painting started to feel like more than just a hobby to Muir. The importance of her emotional and mental well-being became clearer as she realized she needed to make a change and leave the security of a corporate job.
“After having a good job in the corporate world I just got to a point where I was like, ‘Is this going to be my life forever? Is this it? Am I going to have to sit here and do the same shit I was doing five years ago forever?’” Muir recalls. “I decided if I’m ever going to pull the trigger on this art thing it would be now.”
Muir’s inspiration for pursuing a passion also came from her dad, who had a day job and tried being an entrepreneur on the side. He invented a board game and even made an infomercial for it. But the game never took off, and after three years of battling ALS in the hospital, he passed away.
“Him being able to come here from another country and be brave enough to take on a goal like that, whether it failed or not, that is the underlying reason, I think, where I’m just like, ‘Well, I’m gonna make this work,’” Muir says. “I’m gonna push for it.”
Muir eventually left Chicago with her boyfriend for Austin and started expanding her business. She does both personal and business commissions, including a piece for local bar and kitchen Drop Kick. She hoped to be in some art festivals for 2020, but due to COVID-19 halting everything, she has been focusing on her clients and commissions more. However, she was a part of an online art exhibit called “Women by Women” earlier this year. The UK-based Hansford and Sons Fine Art Emerging Artist Platform put on the exhibit in May. The virtual show opened up Muir’s world to other ways of showcasing her art and finding her personality in her style of portraits.
“I started noticing that I really connected with a lot of [my]portraits.” Muir says “I believe in female empowerment, and women having a really strong spirit. Not only are they beautiful, but they’re also pretty fucking badass.”
Although she’s only been in Austin for two years, Muir does not plan on leaving anytime soon.
“It’s like one of those cities where you’re just like, ‘How can you beat it?’ I really like it,” Muir says. “This is the place to be.”
Looking to the future, Muir plans on expanding the ways she can share her art with clients, not only in Austin, but around the world.
“I had no idea that my path would be this windy and crazy at all,” Muir says. “In my situation there can’t be the safety net of, ‘Oh, well you could go back to a corporate job,’ because if I thought like that, then I would be setting myself up to go back to a corporate job. In my mind [the thought]has to be, ‘No, you need to make this work.’ And with that there comes highs and lows, but I’m still thankful and super grateful that I’m doing this.”