I was born in 1969 to parents who had recently immigrated from England and India to raise me and my sister in San Antonio, Texas. I left home at 19 to explore the world, then recently came home to live near my primary family. Along the way I was blessed with three daughters who inspire me continually with their vitality, fresh insights, and loving hearts.
“Where does the name ‘Nishima’ come from?” My father gave me the name ‘Nishi,’ or a “good night” in Hindi, with a full name of ‘Nishima’. When I converted to Judaism, I reclaimed my birth name Nishima after my ‘Neshama,’ or “Soul” in Hebrew.
I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 with a dual degree in Russian studies and Multinational Management from the Wharton School of business. Yet my “extra” figure drawing and sculpting classes brought me a taste for my deepest passion and destiny—to spend my days making art. I turned away from the professional path and continued my studies for the next four years in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, receiving a classical training at the oldest, most traditional art school in the US. Carving marble, limestone and wood, studying anatomy, and mixing oil paints to capture light on a figure created a foundational structure that continues to grant me freedom to experiment and grow in my studio.
My art studio serves both my business and my original creations. I work in every contemporary art medium I can get my hands on. Painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor, and encaustic, hand-building with clay, wood, glass and stone, collage-making with colorful papers, gold and silver leaf, wood, and fabric arts, all allow me to express my ideas and images through my multimedia creations.
The three strongest influences on the content of my artwork have been travels and pilgrimages throughout the US, Russia, India, Israel, Europe and Turkey; camping and hiking extensively in various natural settings; and the connection I feel with people and human life. My personal love for intense color and powerful forms brings dynamic energy and movement to my works. The narrative for my work speaks of the spiritual: Pilgrimages, Possibilities and Transformations. This journey describes both my creations and my life as an artist. I explore color and shape as a way of vibrating with the holy. My subjects include iconic forms; interior emotions and inner states; holy sites and gatherings; images, symbols and words taken from religious traditions; and the texture of relationship between myself and the people and places I depict.
My life in community and family frames my art and transforms my art-making into a constant stream of communication with others. From collaborating in the creation of art shows and projects, to building with clay in my kitchen, to teaching various art forms, to raising children to happily play in my studio, I constantly find ways to include others in my creative life. This process spills into a two-way communication: as my art touches those around me, they in turn touch and impact my art, and the end result is greater than all of us.