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Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I'm originally from Boston but most recently from Dallas. My husband and I just moved to South Minneapolis and we love it here!

How long have you been making art? Have you always created abstract artworks?

I have loved looking at and creating art since I was really young. I became infatuated with the abstract expressionists in undergrad and have been painting abstractly since.

What kinds of things (objects, moods, etc) inspired these paintings?

My painting process is like having a conversation—responding and reacting. My work is formed through the delight of material exploration, yet is nudged into specificity by my memories of places and events from my past. When I’m in my studio, I listen to 90s music to help activate memories from my childhood or early adolescence. The colors and materials I use generally reference childhood interests and are used playfully. For example, I’m really attracted to puffy paint, glitter, and Lisa Frank colors. My shapes suggest anything from a Tamagotchi to a blob-like shape from the opening credits of Saved By the Bell. I’m fascinated by how nostalgia over-beautifies or embellishes a memory, but I also really love playing with materials intuitively. I’m interested in the struggle between the actual (unknowable) past versus faulty or enhanced memories of the past. Mary Heilmann, one of my favorite painters, said, “I just think that in the midst of all the digital stuff, people sort of crave seeing something that’s still and quiet and on the wall.” I agree with Heilmann—this is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to painting. While my work looks backwards and within, the persistent stream of digital media unquestionably influences the imagery and pacing. There is a delicate balance of nostalgia and memory as I work through the layers of each painting that produces joyful, glittery, and childlike imagery.

Blue Kraft

How has the web affected or facilitated your career as an artist?

Tumblr has been wild! Flyover Art featured a few paintings of mine that have been liked and re-tumbled by 1.4k people and counting. Just knowing that at least that many people have seen my paintings is pretty cool. I have met some really great artists and art lovers on there too, so it’s great for networking and as inspiration source.

Do you also show your work locally?

I have had the privilege of showing at a few places around the Twin Cities while I’ve been in school the past couple of years.

What's next for you?

I want to go a little bit crazy with colored glitter and plastic gems in some larger paintings. Also, I can’t stop thinking about collaging my paintings on paper, so some experiments will be happening over the next month. As for exhibitions, I’m going to be a visiting artist and have a solo show at Indiana Wesleyan University next year. I just graduated with my MFA, so I’m thrilled to have something new to work towards.


Back to the show!


Ashely's website and tumblr .