As far as my Art goes, it would be “art using imagery from video games made by someone who basically never plays video games but finds correlations between game imagery and art theory and history”. I’m attracted to imagery from games because it corresponds to the qualities of paintings I enjoy, i.e. solid areas of color which retain a figurative/representational aspect. I also recognize the imagery’s ability to refer to things outside of gaming while retaining a reference to the digital, artificial, and playful. There’s also a resemblance/reference to painters like Klee, Dali, Lichtenstein, Close, and, more locally, Anita Arliss!
For my illustration work it would be “art that has finally recognized itself as pure surrealist mental collage in drawn form”. Sewing machines and umbrellas gettin’ busy on that dissecting table… aw yeah. This work is largely created through automatic drawing initiated by staring at tabletops or floors and waiting for my brain to attempt making sense at the non-information it’s being fed. There’s also an element of improvisation entering to fill in gaps between certain images within a piece; usually the linkages built are funny and sinister.
That being said, I think all of us in Atlanta are onto something quite good. When I moved here in 2007, there was no Dashboard Co-op, no Living Walls, no gloATL, no Wonder Root, no possible Futures. Also, we didn’t yet have folks like Nikita Gale, Nathan Sharrat, Paper Twins, Plastic Aztecs, Jessica Caldas, Jason Kofke, Chris Chambers, Erin Palovick, Rebecca Hanna, etc etc setting up their home bases here. All of these entities and individuals have converged here in the last half decade. I’m sorry, are you kidding me? That’s ridiculous! In the best way!
I would also like to take a moment to congratulate the currently enrolled Georgia State/SCAD/etc. students I see engaging the art scene outside of their classes. I’m simultaneously jealous of the opportunities they have BUT far far prouder of them for going the extra mile and being professionals before they even get out of school. Hopefully you folks know who you are and I want you to know you are doing it fucking right as rain. Love y’all, you inspire me!
FA: Do you feel like it’s easier to be a big fish in a small pond here because of the city’s size?
Ashley: I think it’s easier here to simply be a fish. This is the first city I’ve lived in that actually has an art scene. I moved here from Savannah, which was a tremendous disappointment to me in terms of existing emerging arts culture. You’d think that with SCAD sprawling over the city like an octopus there’d be some kind of art scene, but when I was there it was next to nothing, save for lots of “nice” realist painting and innocuous, decorative “abstraction”. When I first moved here, I went to a show at the Gallery at East Atlanta Tattoo, a robot art show I recall. Tiny show that it was, it blew away any homespun show I’d seen in Savannah. It’s been uphill since, and I am so jazzed to see the range of age, experience, background, media, and content represented in our city.
Something I’ve been wondering to myself recently is all of us fish need to remember the existence of other ponds, “Wetter water, slimier slime” as Rupert Brooke might say :) (Brooke’s poem “Heaven”: http://holyjoe.org/poetry/brooke2.htm
) That is, be not satisfied to dwell in your own pond, but send your spawn a’spreadin’! Put down roots, but spread branches and drop your fruits far and wide. /poetry
I also like Atlanta because it allows me to be active as an artist while remaining near my family. We recently lost my grandmother very suddenly, and of course an experience that jarring and awful and sad makes you reassess your intentions. Several years ago I’d been considering moving to NYC and trying it out, but now I realize I would hate to be too far away from my family to, say, drive 2 hours and be there for them. That would kill me, I can’t let that be. Atlanta, thank you for being where you are. Good job!
FA: Has the community been receptive to your art?
Ashley: I think so! I get invited to plenty of opportunities to show work, selling some stuff on occasion, so someone must be interested in what I’m doing. I’m just sorry I haven’t produced more stuff than I have. There’s always a tension in me between the work I’ve done and the work I wish I’d finished by now, but that’s also a rather fruitless anxiety, so hell with it. Nope, it’s still there. I have found that if you are proactive and making work for yourself and not a specific show, people will sense that genuineness and want it to be a part of whatever they’re putting on. It just takes time. “Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures”, something kind of like that?
FA: How did you get involved with Fallen Arrows?
Ashley: Originally I got involved through Mr. Mike Germon asking me to design a shirt for his blog Thought Marker. That design was a lot of fun to make because it marked an important shift in my process of creating symmetrical designs, which was using tracing paper and registration marks to incorporate more intricate components into the pieces, which had previously been completely eyeballed. I still enjoy looking at that image, but jeez I wish I’d know about clipping layers before I spent TWELVE HOURS coloring the thing!!!
The next thing I did with FA was a shirt for the Little Five Points Fest using a drawing I’d done for a show at Aurora in 2009. It was a funny little drawing poking fun at L5P. Again, I could do such a better job these days, but endlessly reinventing previous projects isn’t yet a part of my process :) It’s still a cute drawing!
FA: Do you think it’s important to have a printing company like Fallen Arrows that offers an accessible platform for emerging artists?
Ashley: Yes. There’s a mystique which sometimes enshrouds the means of production, so when folks like Fallen Arrows make the process as accessible as they do, they give beginning artists a leg up to get their work produced and seen in a medium and price range that accommodates interested parties differently than more expensive, single items in a gallery setting. This is not to say either one is necessarily better, they just scratch different itches. Aw yeah.
FA: What are some of your favorite places to show your work?
Ashley: I really enjoyed showing work at Emily Amy Gallery, it was such a clean, sharp, sunlit space; pro as hell. I’m really digging the Youngblood/MINT synthesis (symbiosis?) and the shows they’ve put on so far have been solid, especially the recent show “Whim”. That is maybe the best show I have ever seen MINT put on, just completely ridiculous how beautiful and solid all that work is, all of it. Congratulations to that group of artists!
I also really enjoyed being in the Day Job: Georgia show at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. Again it was a beautiful, sharp, super-professional space. That show was a real milestone for a few Atlanta arts people too, I think. Just all of us in the same space, you know? Dashboard Co-op, Romy Maloon, Chris Chambers, Nikita Gale, Andy Moon Wilson, Matt Sigmon, etc. When we were setting up the show we would all look at each other with a “holy shit” look on all of our faces!
FA: I know that you are very interested in science and astronomy. So, can you tell us where babies come from?
Ashley: So there’s this series of rooms buried sideways in the ground all over the planet. Sitting at a small table positioned on what would normally be the kitchen window over the sink are two men. One is wearing a pinstriped suit with a tie around his waist and a belt around his neck. The other man is wearing a snuggie whereon is drawn Snoopy making out with a bowl of fruit. It might be printed, I can’t remember. So basically these men are playing cards but one is playing Egyptian Ratshit Slutchucks while the other is playing Solitaire; also the designation of who plays which game changes according to the time of month. Eventually, the man in the snuggie looks up from his card game at the man in the suit and mumbles “puh, puh, pretty”.
A veinous, throbbing lump forms on the suited man’s toe, travels to his knee at four weeks and turns purple while growing to the size of a big mac that’s been fed two five-dollar footlongs, then travels to his forehead and grows to obscure his entire face, which atrophies and sloughs off onto the floor. A small pearl inside the face-sack hatches, its cracking reminiscent of the nokia ringtone, and the baby which commences wears the face like a snuggie, eventually growing to full size in about a half hour and killing the adult snuggie wearer, eating the body and taking his place at the table. The adult snuggie is unharmed, for it is scared. I meant to type sacred, but scared is weirder.
Meanwhile and elsewhere, two people of presumably sound mind and intention have sex and in nine months a baby appears on their facebook.
FA: Where can people find you and/or buy your work?
I’m also on tumblr:
Thanks you guys!!!