Artist Nita Patel’s creative inspiration was born as soon as she heard the story of the “Balinese dragon,” Naga, who was dedicated to protecting people by day and descended into the deep sea by night to visit the pearl, it’s true love. Artist John Hardy created a “Naga Collection” which transfixed Nita’s muse and helped her delve into her own unique style.

Nita is an artist influenced heavily by Asian art and spirituality. Nita’s abstract artwork is symbolic of one’s struggle to find enlightenment. Everything from paint and canvas to wood and rice paper can be used as a medium, and she has even masterfully incorporated glass and precious materials—such as gold and diamonds—into her creations.

Nita Patel recently spoke about her work and her fondness for varied—and fancy—materials via an exclusive interview.

Dragons, materials, and meanings

Meagan Meehan (MM): You were inspired to make art based on a dragon fable, so how old were you when you first heard it and why do you think it had such a profound impact on you?

Nita Patel (NP): I learned of this story during my early midlife at a time when I was feeling lost, and the story of the dragon led me to the new concept of feeling protected, that someone was watching out for me despite my losses with human relations. Even though I’ve always had my spirituality as a place of grounding, this was different and something which allowed me to channel my energy constructively.

MM: Your work is extremely unique and includes many materials, so how did you develop your style?

NP: Growing up around construction sites, my immediate response when I started creating art was to start with wood and glass as they were foundational building materials to any construction or reconstruction. I’m guessing it was my inner child which led me to that.

I also like working with materials I can hold, which are three-dimensional. There’s a sense of satisfaction which paint or the 2D world doesn’t allow.

MM: What kinds of hidden meanings can be found in your work and have you any favorite pieces?

NP: Every piece starts with love written across the base in various forms. As for the dragons I use a perfectly square piece of glass to represent the heart.

While every other piece might be broken the heart is still whole. I would say my favorite piece is the gray dragon. There’s something about her that has so much personality and the life she’s just a form of beauty to me. The abstract work represents the mystery of life, the entangled states we live in, some may call it chaos.

Value, ArtExpo, and the future

MM: You have some pieces that feature gold and diamonds! How much does that affect the value of the art?

NP: To me, the gold or diamonds don’t impact the value of the work. The value of that work is based on the emotions, the inspiration, intricacy and the time it takes to create a complete piece.

MM: What kinds of reactions have you gotten from people who see your artwork and, out of all your many exhibitions, have any been particularly memorable?

NP: People are fascinated when they see certain pieces. More so because of the uniqueness of materials chosen. My abstract work is also loved, but the reactions aren’t quite the same. Materials used is an instant conversation starter.

MM: You displayed your beautiful work at ArtExpo 2018 in NYC, so was that show a positive experience overall?

NP: Art expo 2018 was an amazing experience for me. It was my first art fair at a large scale. I met so many incredible artists from around the globe and made some great connections. The amount of creative energy was so intense and almost overwhelming.

MM: So, Nita, what are the big goals for your future art career and is there anything else that you would like to mention or discuss?

NP: I aspire to be a global artist known for my various styles of mixed media and abstract work. To me, it’s a symbol of inspiration, love, humanity and a reminder to always be in pursuit of what you love most. I want people to feel positivity when they see my work. I would like to contribute my work to a good cause in the "upliftment" of humanity.