Step inside the colorful world (and studio!) of notable artist, Ashley Longshore!
While in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to meet two fabulous locals.
You may have heard of Ashley Longshore. Her art is favorited by many, known internationally, and her ‘girl power’ outlook on life is one to take note of. She’s got extremely impressive talent that tailgates her humorous and independent self. I was welcomed into her brand new New Orleans Studio by her studio director, Kate, and we chatted about life, art, and what it means to be a woman in today’s society. I was lucky to get some words out in between my spurts of laughter…these two are quite the duo and had me cracking up the entire time. I had a blast getting to know the both of them, and now I pass it to you..
Ashley, where do we even begin? I guess asking what your favorite word is seems appropriate?
You may think my favorite word is an expletive but…my favorite word is YES!
When did your journey with art begin?
I have always been expressive, but I didn’t paint until I was 18. I stole my Dad’s Amex and bought a drum set and a paint kit. And then I was HOOKED! I would spend countless hours painting. I painted every day. I had never felt anything so free. There is a fluidity to the paint that feels so intoxicating…huge red brush strokes drowning in glitter make me feel crazy and wild. It’s like trying to explain what love feels like…which is impossible to describe with words. Maybe a high-pitched screech and some high kicks would better describe it.
What does ‘art’ mean to you? Is it definable?
Art is freedom! Freedom of expression, and that’s why there are no boundaries on what art IS and what it ISN’T. When I look at other artists, I try to remain open-minded, knowing that this is someone’s individual expression. Although I may not understand it, I honor the artist’s work and I respect his/her gumption for being creative and expressing it so freely. That feeling is very powerful…THAT is art.
What have been some of the most notable milestones in your career thus far?
Being in media outlets like Forbes, Fast Company, Vogue and Elle…it has been a great accomplishment to be recognized by these publications. I am also working on some huge corporate collaborations for 2016. Being a working artist – and one who is actively selling – makes me happy.
You have some pretty cool clients, one might even be Serena van der Woodsen? Tell us more.
I have the most amazing clients in the whole world and yes, it is no secret that Blake Lively is a collector of my work. Blake and I did a fun collaboration for Preserve. She is really talented and a very fun lady! I love painting with her!
Your Instagram…it’s fantastic and hilarious and some of it is definitely NSFW, but it captures so much of you and your personality. How do you like to tackle this social channel?
My social media is my daily therapy! I don’t really edit what I say. I use it as my full -form expression of being a woman, an artist and to tell of my daily struggles in trying to have a halfway decent body, trying to make a living trying and to be happy. Sometimes I’ll just post something funny because I’m having a really sh*tty day. I think it’s such a great tool to use for self-promotion, but it’s also very therapeutic to post images that I love.
So why New Orleans? Do you see yourself ever living or working anywhere else?
New Orleans is a very intoxicating, creative, mysterious place to call home. I travel quite a bit, but I always find myself coming back to New Orleans. It is a place that celebrates so much creativity, in all forms – culinary, musical, fine arts…it’s a very blossoming, raw, edgy place to live, like New York in the 70s. Plus, you can get into so much wildness here!!! It’s sexy!
Kate, can you tell us a little bit about your day in the life and what it’s like working at Ashley’s studio?
First let me start by saying that we laugh all day long. We work very hard and we have an insane amount of fun doing everything we do. A typical day starts around 7am with texts or emails, generally pertaining to something culturally or artistically relevant. It’s usually a beautiful and inspiring image and it’s a great way to set the tone for the day. We get to the studio a little before 10am and, on some days, we hit a spinning class before. Wednesdays we do studio yoga…it’s pretty special to get our zen on before the day begins. Once the day starts we all wear a bunch of different hats – I’m doing everything from selling art to managing clients and the commission list, to coordinating shipping, wiring paintings, organizing brushes and bedazzling elements, and even making latte art for the artist herself!
How did you two meet? Can you tell us a little bit about your working relationship? The two of you together are like bread and butter.
Ashley and I met years ago at an event in New Orleans, and I was immediately drawn to her creative energy and stacks of diamond pinky rings. Almost three years later, Ashley and I first worked together when I reached out to coordinate a photo shoot. At the time I was doing a lot of editorial styling and I was interested in working with Ashley. Our working relationship grew very organically, out of a mutual love of art, fashion and all things beautiful. I started by working a few days a week, helping around the studio, which grew into managing the space when Ashley was away on an inspiration trip. Once I realized how intoxicating it was to sell the art I was in love with, I was instantly hooked. Ashley and I both understand how the other works and are highly respectful of time, space, and personal as well as professional goals.
Throughout this crazy art adventure, what’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself? Any words of advice to aspiring female artists?
That it is 100% okay to be 100% me, 100% of the time. My advice to all artists and everyone out there? The thing that makes you different is the thing that makes you awesome…and that is what the world needs.
What does being ‘free’ mean to you?
Speaking my mind and telling you what I really think. Painting what I want and exploring my inner voice. Being an American woman is the most awesome thing on the planet.
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