INTERVIEW: Teresa Maharaj

Tell me about the Celestial Peacock.

celestialpeacock“Let yourself be seen” is a piece that encourages its viewer to let their light shine freely, with no reservation. To stand in one’s integrity with confidence and self-acceptance in all aspects of who you are. The Universe sees you in all your wondrous glory. It’s about time that you start to see yourself that way as well.

The peacock is a symbol of integrity, beauty, as well as that of royalty, vision, glory, spirituality, just to name a few. It’s associated with a variety of gods and goddesses: that including but not limited to Hera (Juno), Quan-Yin, and Lakshmi. The eyes represent the eyes of the Universe. In alchemy, the peacock is a representation of beauty in the necessary process of transformation.

If you’ve ever watched a peacock, you see how it has this confidence about itself. It has no problems showing the world who and what it is. It’s living in the truth of who it knows itself to be regardless of the opinions of others.

A lot of times I feel like we tend to dim our shine for what reason, maybe because of fear of what others may think or say, or maybe we feel like we’re not good enough in some regard. This piece says to hell with all that. Be confident in who you are! The Universe sees you in the fullness of who you are. Connect and love your true self. You are beautiful.

What role does music play into your art, if any?

Music is definitely a source of inspiration for me. It helps bridge the connection of the image and the mood of the piece. It plays a huge part in the meditation process of my flow. I listen to almost every genre if the tune appeals to me.

Who are some of your biggest role models/influences in art?

There are many people and things that influence me. I am heavily influenced by art and artists in various genres (from comic, traditional and tattoo art, to music, and performance arts, etc.) First and foremost, my mother since she was the one who is my primary inspiration for beauty in the darkness and sparked the raw creative flame in me. My childhood mentor Kyle Soltis, who introduced me to comic books, anatomy, and the technical skills in drawing up until I entered High School. In college, I studied the masters of course, and spent a lot of time in the library with my head in the books about Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Durer. I am heavily influenced by fantasy artists/ illustrators such as Frank Frazetta, Borris Vallejo and Julie Bell, Luis Royo, Brom, Simon Bisley. Also artists such as Frida and H.R. Giger. Of course, I have to mention a master of our time, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person, Vladimir Kush who is the founder of Metaphorical Realism.

What’s your personal feeling about branding? Should artists consider their own personal brand when creating art?

I believe you already are your brand. I think your individuality creates your brand. I’m a firm believer in letting your creative voice speak, and as you flow with it you eventually discover what it is that you do. I can’t say that all artists should consider their own personal brand when they create their art because not all artist goals are the same. Some artists don’t mind going commercial with their art. Others do.

If you are wondering what your brand is, you have to look deeper into who you are as a creative individual. A few questions to consider are:

Who are you? What is your art about? Who is your audience/ target market? What is your definition of success? Not everyone’s definition of success is the same, so be honest about what success means to you and live by it. Be authentic, and you will discover what your brand is.

Do you believe in the myth of the starving artist?

No. I believe that your mindset determines who and what you are. I’ve never considered myself a “starving artist.” I am a working artist. I am a creative entrepreneur. Do I have my ups and downs? Absolutely! But, there are ups and downs in every field of business. Your mindset about yourself and your business determines everything. It’s just a matter of becoming clear as to what you want for yourself and believing in how you see yourself.

How would you describe the art scene in Vegas? Has it evolved over the year you’ve lived here?

The Las Vegas art scene/community is a very supportive community. Overall, it strives for expansion and definitely has expanded. As long as we are respectful to each other and our individual goals as well as community goals, our community will continue to expand and grow.

What advice would you give a beginning artist regarding the role of marketing and getting your work out there?

First and foremost, stay true to you and your creative voice and always be willing to learn more about your craft. Never be afraid of going back to basics. As for marketing, it all depends upon your goals as to how you choose to pursue this as a career. Remember, not all artists are the same so your goals will be different from other artists. If you choose to take this on as a business, learn your basic business skills. Take time to ask questions like I mentioned earlier. Get yourself a website! Sit down and write out your goals, you’re going to have to have some structure established to execute your goals. What are your short term and long term goals? Contracts and effective communication skills are important. If you’re taking on commissions then establish guidelines between you and your clients.

Learn the different social media platforms and how to operate on those platforms. Learn how to price your work. And, have an unconventional way of thinking. Observe entrepreneurs that inspire you in other fields and see what their motivations are and how they think. Never limit yourself to your possibilities because the possibilities are limitless. There will always be opinions of others, some will serve you and some will not. Ultimately, you and only you have to be the one to decipher what will be in the best interest for you and your goals.



Teresa Maharaj is a local to Las Vegas and for the last several years has shown her work throughout the Las Vegas valley. Influenced by a variety of master artists along with her determined focus to master her own style, her work, guided by free-flow, continues to amaze its viewers. Teresa’s work is best described as the beauty in the darkness, which she defines to be unconditional self love and acceptance of all aspects of one’s self. 

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