We had the good fortune of connecting with Adriana Oxford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adriana, can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I grew up in an extremely visual home. My mom was always interested in design, changing and moving things around our house week after week, bringing in new art and artists, new furniture, new textiles. Our home was a constant evolution. On top of that, we grew up traveling quite a bit. The world became this lens for my sisters and me to experience culture, experiment with adaptability, meet a wide variety of people, and to come into very close proximity with the arts. So from a very young age, travel and design and art were very dear friends that cultivated my visual eye and interest in crafting beauty. To be honest, I never thought that design nor fine art nor energy medicine would be my path. I grew up as one of seven, and most of my family are lawyers. On some level, that was the expectation for me too, or so I thought. When I was in high school, my art teacher, Roy Bares, began encouraging me to pursue art in college. At the time, I did not think that I had the talent to pursue fine arts as a legitimate means of income; however, through his encouragement, that’s the path I chose for myself. I painted my way through the University of Texas until I realized that… well… I needed to find a job. Cue – interiors. I worked for a residential design build, Moontower, in Austin for a couple of years while realizing that my art background was not solely limited to a canvas. I could use what I knew about fine arts and start applying those things three-dimensionally in space. That whole idea really excited me! I attended grad school to get my MFA in Interior Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and I would say that Savannah is where things really shifted for me – where I started to care for the quality of my work, develop an aesthetic, and be able to vocalize how design can physically and emotionally contribute to society. During school, I was pretty adamant about not going to go work for a large corporate firm after graduating. I laugh at that now – now that I work at one of the largest architectural firms in the world. You never know where a road will take you, and I often think that the things you resist the most are actually the things that are meant for you. As an Associate Interior Designer at Gensler, I work mostly in commercial hospitality – bars, restaurants, hotels, private clubs, small-scale boutique workplace – ALL THE FUN STUFF! What I love about Gensler is everyone’s capacity to make real, true vision actually work – to make incredibly far-fetching ideas a reality. I will always be grateful for the people I have gotten to work alongside there who have taken something wacky from my brain and made it happen in real life. While I love design, I also love the intimacy of being in people’s homes. My side business, A Oxford Studio, allows me to do that – to make work for people and with people. To clear space together, to set intentions together, to set vision together, and then produce an end product that is truly them. Has this all been a walk in the park? Definitely not. I have had many teachers who have greeted me along the way. The teacher of Rejection – I heard the word “No” quite a lot early on in my career, and I think those rejections have housed for me one of my biggest lessons in life so far — always ask again. Go 100% after what you want, and if the answer is “No,” then you have the exact same answer as you did before you asked. There is no fear in putting yourself out there and asking the question. Getting told “No” on all of these occasions has graciously given me a deeper sense of personal humility and gratitude for those opportunities that were “Yes’s.” My second teacher – Comparison. Coming from a family of hyper-successful doctors and lawyers, insecurity ran high in my veins in middle school, in high school, in college. Am I going to be as successful as my siblings? Are my parents going to be disappointed in me if I choose something different? So on and so forth. It was not until I stepped away from home for awhile, moving to Los Angeles and then to Savannah, that I began to own my personal gifts and have confidence in them. Sometimes all you need is a little space for yourself, alone without anyone else’s opinion, to figure out what you really want and to forge that path. My third teacher – Confusion. I was always a polymath growing up – I was good at math, I could paint, I was athletic. I do not say that to brag, but to say that I was always confused where I fit in. Should I go to business school or follow all my siblings into law? In college, I struggled specifically with whether my direction was to be a full-fledged artist or pursue the design field or really put my focus in the healing arts. It was not until recently, that I really believed it could be all of these things, and that they can easily complement each other. My current teacher – Clarity. When did we all decide we had to commit our lives and time to one thing and one thing only? When did we start defining ourselves as singular? The past couple of months, I have really focused on creating my own work, and if it has taught me one thing, it has taught me this: I am a talented, multidimensional human being – capable of creating any and ALL visions I have for myself. Maybe not this month, maybe not this year, AND I am capable of any and ALL. I am capable of owning my own business AND contributing to project teams I’ve been a part of for years. I can teach AND be a student. I can take trips AND write about them. Speaking of writing, I can design, sing, paint, AND write. How about that book I’ve been neglecting for years? Check. Writing now. I can do all of these things AND also continue my research and embodiment and understanding of energy medicine. I am not a singular. I am a multi – a multidimensional life. So are you. Curious – what would you create if you removed singularity from your thought process? If you removed the OR and added an AND?
How does your business help the community or world?
“Everything is energy, and that is all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” Albert Einstein My goal is and has always been to create purposeful, clear, creative, energetically-filled space. With that said, when I first started A Oxford Studio, I began suggesting house clearings to move stuck energy out of the home. On an hourly basis, the services include pendulum testing, purging the house, followed by a salt burn, intention setting, and house smudging. When I first kicked off this offering, I did not really think it would catch on. “Maybe this is simply something I’m into?” Well, it caught on like wildfire and is truly some of my most meaningful work. I had a client tell me once, “I had no idea I was living under so many veils. I physically feel lighter.” The reality is that your house, everything in your home, especially if you own antiques, holds energy. Do you feel unclear? Do you feel anxious? Do you feel messy? All of these feelings could simply be coming up for you because the physical space is a block. The ways in which we interact with our environment, in both material and immaterial ways, are the ways we form our lives. When art and design become less of about objects and more of about triggers for experience, they become a vehicle for self-expression and a chance to tell your story. I want to help tell your story. Sure, I may ask you and tell you that you need to get rid of, to purge. If you are open to it, though, we can let go of the old and breathe new inspiration and a lot more ease into your space. You simply need to allow for the clearing, instead of adding more on top. We all need a clear space to collaborate well together. And I cannot wait to work with you in this way!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Haha! Am I allowed to say my house? Truly though – I am quite the homebody, and I’m cool with that. If I am making my way out into the great city of Houston though, it’s normally to visit my friends to support their holistic practices and businesses. Vital Family Chiropractics – these women truly have healing hands; Heights of Health – the naturopath that changed my life; Tim Janek – an incredible body worker; and Big Power Yoga – my home away from home. These people are my team, and I am so lucky to know all of them. If you’re not into that – you can find me walking North and South Blvd, visiting the herons there. I love the Twombly Gallery, mostly because its quiet. And Nobie’s always hits the spot.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people and things that have guided me to right here; however, I will limit it to three. The first person I wish to acknowledge is Roy Bares, my rock & roll high school art teacher. At a very pivotal time in my life, he encouraged me to pursue fine arts in college. Without that initial push, I do not think I would of had the courage or confidence to really pursue what I wanted. He helped make it abundantly clear for me. The second person I would like to acknowledge is my sweet friend and mentor, Nancy Perry. Nancy is the owner of BIG Power Yoga here in Houston, which is also the yoga studio where I choose to teach. She was the first person in my adult life to give me a good ass-kicking, the first person that asked me to physically step up, step forward, and lean fiercely into my capability. Since then, through her curriculum and the curriculum of Lightyear Leadership, she has continued to make me incredibly uncomfortable, pushing my limits, and empowered me to step up into my life. The third and last, I’m forever indebted to the book, “The War of Art,” and I’ll end this section with a quote from its text: “Are you a born writer? Were you put on the earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end, the question can only be answered by action. Do it or don’t do it. Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”