Thursday, November 7, 2013

The keys to Prince Puja's kingdom

Thanks to a new product line that Prince Puja has added, I was drawn back to this beautiful soul.  It is my honor and pleasure to finally add him to this blog where he belongs and share his journey and the latest additions to his jewelry creations.

It's been over three years since we last talked.  I have been keeping an eye on you and know that you are still promoting your lines on the web and have done trunk shows, arts events and Etsy.  What else has been happening with Puja both in the jewelry and fashion worlds?

I've just really been working on my craft. Developing my skills as well as my vision. I started taking some metal smithing classes and I just recently released a new collection (Key Elements) and have a few more things that I'm getting ready to release.

What are some of your biggest challenges getting your work recognized?

There are just so many super talented people out there doing their own thing now so it's just a matter of continuing to develop my skills and vision and constantly being out in the world in whatever way I can... social media, events, collaborations, etc. But I've realized lately that the most important thing to me is to create my work. I feel like there will always be ups and downs and there will always be people who like my work and people who don't so it's just a matter of creating what I truly believe in and sharing it with the people who care and want to support it.

Over the past two years I've become more aware of the differences between L.A. and the NY metro area as far as arts communities, lack thereof and arts cultures.  In your art, does competition play a big role in getting your "voice heard" above the others?

I think there is a healthy level of competition but I don't like to focus on that aspect too much. I think everyone who is truly following their own voice has a place in the art community (or world for that matter). I'm more interested in supporting and collaborating with other talented artists than trying to compete.

Is there collaboration in the jewelry world like there is in the performance and other visual arts part of the tribe.  Where, if at all, do you find a "leg up" from other members of the tribe?

I haven't done a lot of collaborative work but it's definitely something I'm very interested in getting into. At some point I would love to do some jewelry for a designer's show/presentation/lookbook. Again, I think my only real "leg up" is my ability to follow my own voice and persevere (continuing to create my work and get it out there as much as possible).

Your new key line was the spiritual kick for me to get back in touch with you.  What inspired it?  Do you find symbolism in keys, whole or broken, that fuels your muses?  Has this key line opened any doors for you?  What are your sources for keys (tag sales, found on the street, etc)?

My new key collection (Key Elements) all started with a lock and key that I got at a market in India a few years ago. They were just so beautiful so I got them and just had them on my bookshelf for a while and then the collection just came to me one day and I knew I had to physically manifest the ideas in my head. The lock has Shiva on one side (the Hindu God of Destruction) and an Om on the back.

Keys to me have so much symbolism. They open up worlds of possibilities. They can unlock secrets, treasures, memories, etc. And this collection in particular is all about finding the elements that make up the key(s) to unlocking your inner strength/power.

Are there other new lines in the works?  What are some of your current inspirations?

Working on a couple new collections right now. I feel like I've really started to find my voice recently and I'm so excited about the direction that I'm going now. I'm constantly inspired by anything and everything around me but a few of the big inspirations that I always go back to are India, religion, tribal people, traditional ethnic clothes, etc.

As for fashion...Do you strictly design for yourself?  Do you think you will explore more in that medium over time?  I know your culture/heritage is a big factor in your designing.  Where else do you draw inspiration from?

I'm always trying to bring all of the ideas in my head into reality so clothing/fashion always plays a big part in that. Whenever I go to India I get stuff made there because the quality and their knowledge of traditional Indian clothes is amazing. One day I might do a line but I feel like when I do it will be very specific and concentrated. Again there are so many talented people and so much great stuff out there right now that I just don't want to put out something unless I feel like it's really special/unique.

Lately I'm in what I'm calling "Dorothy mode".  My trip to CA in July never happened.  Initially it really bummed me out and then I found myself remembering Glinda's question to Dorothy just before she shows her how to use the ruby slippers.  "What have you learned?"  After a moment's thought Dorothy replies "If you can't find your heart's desire in your own backyard, then you never lost it in the first place".  Once I accepted that more and more members of the tribe have been coming east and I have gotten to spend time with them in NYC.  Do you think you will be traveling in this direction any time?

I love that! I haven't been to NYC in a few years and I've been itching to get out there. Don't have any plans yet but it's definitely something I'm working on! That line really rings true for me because I have loved traveling my whole life and I haven't gotten to do a lot of it in the past couple years and it's really forced me to appreciate where I am and learn that if I don't need to leave and go somewhere else to follow my dreams. (Although it is super fun to explore new places and is always such a learning experience so I'm looking forward to traveling again soon!)

I have gotten to know many members of the L.A. tribe now.  I also know that more than one of them are not "burners".  Have you ever been to Burning Man or any of the arts festivals?

I actually haven't! =( YET! Haha. I've been wanting to go for a few years but same thing with me, it just hasn't worked out with money/logistics. Part of me is a little sad that I didn't get to go sooner because I've heard Burning Man has changed quite a bit in the past few years but it's definitely something I want to experience and I feel like it will really be an important experience for me.

For more information on Prince Puja please visit:

Please check back tomorrow for my interview with Puja's gorgeous "twin sister", Rahab.

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