Artist Spotlight: Lawyer by day, painter by night
Full Name: Somya Kaushik
FD: What are five things you would like for us to know about you?
- I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA.
- I love sports, especially the Steelers.
- I have a dog, Roo, who has swiftly stolen my heart.
- I own a company called Esq.Me
- My name means inner peace and serenity.
FD: Do you go to India often?
SK: My family and I try to go back to India every other year. Both of my parents were born and raised in New Delhi and we still have quite a bit of family there, so it’s like a second home for me. New Delhi is my escape, it’s got tons of culture, history and beauty.
FD: Why did you decide to study law?
SK: I went to The London School of Economics and studied International Law and Human Rights and I fell in love with the analytical approach to law. I had great professors and found a passion for critical thinking, so I changed from pre-medical to law in 2008.
FD:How did you get into art?
SK: I took a painting class during college at The George Washington University, and found myself always in the studio, even after class or on the weekends. Painting is a way for me to be free from all other thoughts and allows me to be so present and focused.
FD: How often do you paint?
SK: I have to really feel the idea or emotion for me to paint. If I did it on a schedule, I think I’d lose my passion for it to be honest. I don’t like too much of a routine in anything in life. I believe things should come naturally and organically. I’d say I paint at least once a week.
FD: What inspires your art work?
SK: Music. My culture. My lineage. I never got to meet my grandmother but I have been fortunate enough to see her paintings, drawings and fabric paintings that she used to do. She was a natural artist and I think I got my talent from her, so her work really inspires me.
FD: Where can we find your art?
SK: My website is www.somyakaushik.com and you can also follow me on Facebook! I sell my paintings and can recreate most or do something original for any customer.
FD:What are your other hobbies?
SK: I love to dance. I’ve been on 5 different national Indian dance teams throughout the north east in the last 7 years. I’ve recently “retired” but still love to dance. I also play the Tabla, it’s an Indian percussion and play tennis when I can.
FD:You live a neat life as a young Indian American lawyer in New York City. Did it ever occur to you that you would be living here?
SK: Honestly, no. I had no idea I would be living in NYC as a young lawyer/entrepreneur by day and a painter by night. I certainly never thought I’d start my own legal technology company as well (Esq.Me, Inc. at www.esqmelaw.com). But I think NYC has taught me that life is unpredictable and that’s the beauty of it. I’ll always have plans but I think being flexible and accepting of what comes your way is the most important. This City gives me wings.
FD: What is the most important thing to you in life?
SK: Family. They have been my rock throughout my life. My parents and sister have always supported me in any strange endeavor I took on! I love to explore things and try things I may not be good at, so to have a family that unconditionally bolsters me and guides me in the right direction is a true blessing. And any family I have in the future will be of the utmost importance to me as well.
FD: Who are some of the fanm djanm you look up to? They can be family or public figures. And Why?
SK: With no doubt in my mind, I’d say my mom and older sister are my fanm djanm idols. They live life with such a graceful balance between being strong professional physicians and wonderful homemakers. Some say they are lucky, I say they worked very hard at it.
- I definitely have public figures fanm djanm I look up to. I’m a nerd and love to watch documentaries on women like Benazir Bhutto, Princess Diana, Sonia Gandhi and other great leaders. Obviously Beyonce is in there somewhere!
FD: Can you tell me of any struggle or any self esteem issues you had while growing up or as an adult if any?
SK: I've always loved sports and have always had an athletic body type. It's something I truly love because I'm an active person but unfortunately it's not necessarily what the American media thinks or portrays as beautiful or "dainty." I think a beautiful woman is a confident woman, regardless of body type. I've been lucky to not have this be a real issue in my life because I grew up around people who also viewed beauty the same way.
FD: We already know you're a fanm djanm, can you tell us in your own words, why you consider yourself one?
SK: I consider myself a fanm djanm not because I’m an attorney, entrepreneur or because of my paintings or hobbies. Those are external things that anyone can be. But I’d consider myself one because I’m learning to be fearless. To me a fanm djanm is a woman who does not let fear guide or constrict her. I want to take on life with no regrets. And with fearlessness comes inner strength to love who you truly are and what you stand for.
FD: Anything else you'd like to add?
SK: My favorite quote “the inflexible heart breaks first” – Antigone.