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Inside the Artist's Studio: Erin Ashley

Banner: Detail of Detour 84 I by Erin Ashley

"Never stop, believe in yourself, believe in your work. You are talented - talent is in all of us, you just need to tap into it."

We invite you to get inside her incredible mind to discover how she creates art and to motivate you in your journey, her words will resonate with you even if you are not an artist. 

Erin Ashley

Erin Ashley is a self taught artist focused on abstract art who lives and works in the United States. You might have seen Ashley's captivating artworks at the Bank of America Stadium in
Charlotte North Carolina. She has been published in Luxury Portfolio International Magazine, Professional Artist Magazine, Birmingham Arts Journal, and many other art publications.  
Ashley’s creative practice is based on trusting the process. She embraces the blank canvas without preconceived ideas. She allows paint and color to layer, hide, and reveal the history within. Ashley has an innate sensibility for color theory, design, and composition which allows her to create breathtaking works of art. 

What do you want the viewer to know about your work? or feel when they see it?

Bringing a blank canvas to life, makes my soul sing. It is important to me that each piece I create reveals a bit of history hidden within. As in life, we all have a history, we all have a story to tell. I hope that my art will send the viewer into a beautiful story, a story of discovery and inspiration.

Detail of Metro Mix 33 I by Erin Ashley 

What is your advice for emerging artists?

Never stop, believe in yourself, believe in your work. You are talented - talent is in all of us, you just need to tap into it. You know, I started out painting not knowing a thing about art. I just knew it was something I enjoyed making. When first starting out, I would look at photos and try to replicate them. This was great practice but I can honestly say I was terrible at it! I remember looking at other artists, trying to paint like them but only becoming frustrated with myself the more I did this. What do I like, what am I good at, what kind of art would I want hung in my own home?

"The moment I asked myself those questions was the moment I stopped looking at other peoples art and looked within myself."

While it is great to get inspired by art you see, sometimes one could fall in the trap of trying to be that artist and never finding your own. When I listened to myself and dug deep that is when my style and identity as an artist started to emerge. You are your own, you were created with a gift, a unique one of a kind gift. Dig deep within yourself. What inspires you? What colors have you always been drawn to the most?

"Find something you do well and build off that."

Practice always, experiment with all kinds of materials and paints, and try to create something on a daily basis even if you are not feeling it that day. I also say, don’t be so hard on yourself, don’t overthink your art and paint what you like, not what you think others would want. Spread your creative wings and fly free - there are no rules when it comes to making art - only rules you set on yourself. Unleash and let go of all expectations, trust your own process and enjoy - you can do it!

What is the inspiration for your paintings?

Inspiration comes to me in many forms, I see abstract in the things that many times are overlooked. Mother nature is my biggest inspiration, the way the elements over time age things with its organic textures and colors that you can’t find anywhere else. Walking on a sidewalk and seeing the rust and markings, the back of an old truck or an neglected building chipping away. I see so much beauty that comes through each aging layer of time passed and excites and sparks inspiration instantly . My work is intertwined with the old and with the new, creating a bit of history behind each layer of paint. Bringing time passed into the now - a new way to look & discover.

What is your artistic practice like?

Sometimes I have an idea before I paint, but mostly my mood and feeling I am having that day sets the stage for what I will create. Colors are a huge part of the process and have to speak to me and feel right before anything else. Mother nature has inspired a lot of my color choices. I have many bins in my studio filled with hundreds of colors. I dig in the bins and pull out colors that I like and don't allow myself to think about it too much or I will get stuck on it. I try to let my first instinct dictate the colors or a memory of something I saw inspired by mother nature. Once I know the realm of colors, the rest of the painting evolves from there.

How has the pandemic influenced your work?

Giving me more time to focus on what matters most.

Acrylic or oil painting?

I paint with acrylic and mixed media in my work.

What does your studio look like?

My creative space - my studio. It’s a mess and definitely looks like an artist has left its mark and more. There is not one inch of untouched painted surface in the studio. I am a messy artist when I make art- I don’t know any other way to create. I guess one could say, I get into my work - literally! My floor is filled with paint and at times when the light gets a bit too dark I have to paint the entire floor with a coat of white. That white paint only lasts for about 3 weeks before it's completely covered in a rainbow of colors once again.

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To learn more about Erin Ashley visit her website and instagram account