Following your true nature: daring to go against the grain with Amelia Hadouchi

Amelia Hadouchi’s world is full of colour, movement, and good vibes. This Montreal artist paints mesmerizing creations in her centrally-located studio, with her mind full of nature and a celery stalk in her hand. 

What inspires her to do what she does? A visceral need to create, and a desire to encourage those who are engrossed by her work to entertain a moment of contemplation – similar to the way they would during a nature walk.

Breaking generational cycles and leaning into life

Many artists choose to go against the grain despite warnings from other people, disappointment from their families, and social pressure. Luckily, that wasn’t at all the case for Amelia.

“My parents are from Algeria and immigrated to Quebec about 30 years ago. In raising my brother and me, they made a conscious choice to break the cycle. They didn’t shape us according to the traditional ideals that define success, and instead allowed us to be totally ourselves. They wanted their children to do what they were truly passionate about. I started to explore different artistic disciplines early on, and settled on painting around 9 years old.”

Would Amelia still have become an artist without her family’s support? “Yes. Without a doubt. But it would have been more difficult. I think I would have been motivated by a desire to prove myself, even if that’s a less healthy approach.”

“On my deathbed, will I be plagued by things I should have done? The thought sends shivers down my spine and haunts me every day. I want to live the kind of life that fills me with pride. I want to have experienced so many things.” 

Embracing the twists and turns

Does all of this mean that Amelia followed a linear path to get where she is today? Absolutely not! “It took me a while to find my calling. I started working at a young age – in fact, I had to lie about my age to get my first job in a boutique. I was good at sales, which led me to study business. My goal was to one day start a business of my own. Along the way, I realized I was still following a path defined by social expectations. I asked myself: am I doing this because I need to, or because I want to? Can I do something else?”

Amelia pivoted to interior design, which eventually led her to a career in art. “I was using my artwork to decorate my design mockups. Soon enough, my colleagues were asking me if they could use them too.” That’s when Amelia started sharing her work. First in the classroom, then on social media.

It might come naturally, but it doesn’t come easily

Amelia is one of those people who isn’t afraid to dive headfirst into an unorthodox career. But does that mean it’s easy to be a full-time artist? “Not at all. If it was just me, it would have been easy. I’m confident in myself and my decisions. But I’ve had to fight back against other people’s projections – the fears they project onto me. You have to be mentally strong to hear, over and over, that your journey won’t be easy. And to still keep moving forward.”

“When I paint, there’s no room for ego. I’m completely aligned with my true nature. I put music on, I dance, I laugh, I’m in a trance. I have nothing to prove to anyone.”

The hard part comes next: sharing her work with the world. “It’s always tough getting my work out there. I’ve learned to do it more effortlessly over time. Before, some paintings would stay in my studio for months before I showed them to others.”

What gives her the courage to share her art? “I’m learning to see my pieces as separate entities. They’re extensions of me, but they also have their own journeys to live out. It would be a shame if I kept them to myself when they might have a message or vibrations to share with someone else. Maybe they’ll resonate elsewhere.”

The striking nuance in Amelia’s approach is that she doesn’t create to please everyone. “There’s a huge difference between wanting everyone to like your paintings, and hoping they’ll appeal to one person. If you’re creating to please everyone, you’re not being true to yourself. You’re impersonating someone who doesn’t exist. The art that follows won’t be an expression of your true nature.”

The myth of the “artist”

“I see my art as a collaboration between me and the universe. I connect to the beauty of life and nature – and whatever wants to come out, comes out. I like to explore, and my intention is always to remain curious. I’ve found my artistic path, but the canvas can still change.”

Sometimes, Amelia expresses herself on canvas. Sometimes, it’s on a wall. It all depends on what’s inspiring her at the moment, or if she’s collaborating with a brand. “Every surface is valid. I’ve never felt internally conflicted about exploring different avenues, but I have received criticism from others. From artists who stick to the strict rules of fine art. Will the industry respect me if I collaborate with brands? If I make Tik Tok videos that showcase my art? I think it’s important not to ask yourself too many questions and to remain authentic to yourself.”

“Creativity is a constant flow. Why hit the brakes out of fear that people will judge you? Other people don’t have to make decisions about my life. I know I’m taking a unique path, that I’m breaking the rules. But who invented those rules anyway?”

And why do we need to follow them?

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