Ava Khera’s Artistic Evolution from Fashion to Fine Art

Paige Simianer | January 26, 2024

Artist Spotlight: Ava Khera. A woman is depicted painting on a canvas in a brightly lit room. She is focused on her work, with various brushes and painting tools arranged in a pot on the easel beside her and a vase with delicate flowers nearby, adding an aesthetic touch to the creative space.

Artwork Archive's Featured Artist Ava Khera is best known for her realist portraits and figurative surrealism. 

Based in Birmingham, United Kingdom, Ava is a self-taught artist who initially spent eight years in the world of fashion design and textiles before transitioning to the realm of fine art. Her background equipped her with a keen eye for design, an unwavering attention to detail, and precise observation skills.

Ava’s paintings draw inspiration from personal experiences and cherished memories, all of which find expression through her poignant storytelling. Her work stands out with its rich color palettes, the fluidity of her brushwork, and the profound exploration of human emotions. 

Each subject Ava portrays is meticulously crafted through multiple layers of oil, acrylic, or watercolors, resulting in soft and sensorial forms. 

Artwork Archive had the chance to chat with Ava Khera about her creative process, what success as an artist means to her, and how Artwork Archive makes her art career more manageable! 

You can see more of her work on Discovery and learn more about her art practice below.

This painting depicts a woman with short reddish hair and bangs looking downwards. She grasps the skirt of her dark green dress, holding the fabric slightly lifted. The woman stands in a cave-like setting with stone walls surrounding her. Her downward gaze and posture evoke a sense of mystery and drama within the rocky environment.
Ava Khera, Nature's Embrace, oil on panel, 36 x 24 x 1.5 in.

Do you have a favorite or most satisfying part of your creative process?

There is always an awkward stage in the middle where the painting doesn’t look anything like how it will towards the end.

What I have learned most in the last few years is to trust my process and not rush through this stage.

The most satisfying part is the turning point, where, after a few more steps, everything starts to click. It's at this moment that I can look at it and clearly envision the result in my head.

From this point on, I’m just finishing the painting—it almost gives me a second wind. I’m as excited and giddy as I was at the start.


What led you to transition from fashion design to fine art? 

The first thing I remember wanting to be is an artist. As I started to get older, it became embedded in me that I needed to find a more “realistic” creative career to pursue.

I channeled my art into fashion design. But, after roughly seven years of working in the industry, it became glaringly obvious that I needed more creative freedom to express myself—something I couldn't achieve as a designer.

Slowly building my art practice gave me confidence in my skills. I could take what I'd learned about color, balance, and design from my previous career to my art. This has led me to develop a unique style of my own.

This painting depicts a young woman with brown hair flipped to the left side gazing directly at the viewer. She wears a blue v-neck shirt and is set against a dark, moody background that frames her face. Her expression conveys a sense of contemplation and intensity as she locks eyes with the viewer.
Ava Khera, A Cautious Heart, oil on panel, 14 x 10 x 0.5 in.

What draws you to using deep color palettes in your work and how do you believe it enhances the emotional impact of your pieces?

I love color, and I love experimenting with different relationships between muted and saturated hues on opposite sides of the color wheel.

These color palettes, along with the interplays of light and shadow, can sometimes drive a painting more than the subject itself. I find this approach to be a powerful way to tell a story without heavily relying on tangible components.

I’m leaning towards a larger variety of colorful, natural settings in my figurative works. As I develop paintings that include multiple figures and more complex narratives, I see my color palettes as dynamic elements.

Painting of two dancing figures: This painting depicts two dancers in motion. A man wearing a white tank top supports a woman bending backwards, with her arms reaching upwards. The man grasps the woman's waist as she arches her back, capturing a moment of intensity between the pair as they dance together.Ava Khera, Faithful Abandon, oil on panel, 16 x 12 x 0.5 in.

What impact do you hope your work will have on those who view it?

My only hope is that my art can cut through the noise we constantly have around us and in our thoughts.

The purpose of my art is for people to feel connected and understood.

Although my style is quite delicate and refined, my aim is for the emotional depth to remain raw in its expression. If my art can bring you back to a core memory or feeling, then that’s all I want.


What does success as an artist mean to you?

I would probably define it by three markers.

Firstly, I consider my art successful if I’m being authentic to myself and exploring my curiosity through it.

Then, I view my career as an artist successful if it enables me to support myself and my family.

Lastly, the impact of my work on the world is also crucial—this is true at any scale. For instance, when a collector brings one of my paintings into their home and finds a meaningful source of joy in it, I consider that a huge success.

Artwork Archive Tip:

You can keep track of important collector information (like which pieces they have purchased from you) with Artwork Archive's Contacts feature. 

The dancer wears a black leotard and their face is obscured from view. Their arms stretch overhead, hands clasped as their back arches acutely. The agonizing pose creates a sense of tension and effort in the dancer's body. The black leotard contrasts the bare background, drawing focus to the dancer's contorted form.Ava Khera, Tender Agony, oil on panel, 8 x 6 in.

If you experience them, how do you handle creative blocks and find the motivation to keep creating?

Like most artists, I process a constant flow of ideas. I find it challenging to decipher what is authentically mine from what is influenced by current culture. Being exposed to a lot of art and other people’s opinions can sometimes drown out my own thoughts.

Recently, I have been intentionally exploring more of my personal interests like mythology, nature, and relationships.

My studio has become a space for me to truly explore the themes and narratives that are the most important to me. I'm currently painting a series that I can already see genuinely reflects my values.

This journey of constantly questioning who I am (both as an artist and individual) is giving me more confidence in what I’m creating.


Why did you decide to use Artwork Archive to inventory your artwork and manage your art career?

I decided to use Artwork Archive because I wanted to make sure I was being as efficient as I could with the business side of my art.

After I started gaining momentum in my career, it became apparent that I needed to find a creative structure that consequently maximized my time in the studio creating art.

Giving a professional impression with the Catalog Pages and Reports I send also helps me build trust with my clients.

Artwork Archive Tip:

Artwork Archive allows you to create Private Online Viewing Rooms of your art that can be shared with specific clients. Additionally, you have the option to secure these rooms with a password for added privacy.

This painting depicts a young woman with short light red hair from an overhead view looking down at the top of her head. She wears a white tank top and has a serene expression, eyes cast downward. The vantage point creates a sense of intimacy as she gazes at the grass, disconnected from the outside world. Her solitude amidst nature evokes a feeling of tranquility.
Ava Khera, Whispers of Serenity, oil on panel, 9.5 x 7 x 0.5 in 

How do you use Artwork Archive on a daily basis?

Every day, I find that I need Artwork Archive for something.

As my body of work grows along with my connections to clients and galleries, it has been an incredible tool and resource.

I regularly meet with clients, interior designers, and galleries, which often requires me to send a catalog of work with certain requirements. With Artwork Archive, I can easily create a catalog or report, filtering by size, theme, date, or more.

Before launching new collections on my website, I catalog my paintings in Artwork Archive. This really takes the pressure off when it comes to the launch and allows me to send exclusive previews to my collectors and mailing list.

Artwork Archive has been an incredible resource for my business. There are always new tools and updates being launched as well, which makes my processes even better.


What advice would you give an artist who's just starting out in their professional career?

Stay true to the art you want to make, and be patient with yourself while you develop your practice.

In the world of social media, it‘s too easy to constantly compare where you are and what you’re creating with those who are succeeding in their own niches and are, in most cases, a considerable number of years into their career.

It’s also easy to be influenced by what’s popular right now. It's easy to think that if you don’t paint this particular subject or in this style, that your art won’t have a place in the world.

As a self-taught artist, I now value the time I spend developing my technique and experimenting with my style. It’s something I’m always considering and growing with as I change, making sure I’m being authentic to myself and my reason for making art.


Ava Khera uses Artwork Archive to organize her artwork, send professional reports to clients, prepare for collection previews, and a whole lot more.

You can make an online portfolio, catalog your artwork, and generate reports like inventory reports, tear sheets, and invoices in seconds with Artwork Archive. Take a look at Artwork Archive's free trial and start growing your art business. 

Purple graphic with screenshots of Artwork Archive's system. White text reads: Artwork Archive: An online portfolio + business management platform for artists. Get the all-in-one platform artists use to manage their artwork and career. Green button that says Try it Free leads to Artwork Archive's main sign up page.

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