We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Berry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I am interested in the topic of self-preservation and honoring of self through art. I am a true believer in the power of art as medicine, and I also believe it should be accessible to all people. My art is intended to help you see the energetic beauty within people and our environments. At the core, all things in nature hold a beautiful essence, and it is necessary for you to see yours before you can see and understand the humanity in others. My art challenges you to do this- see beyond the surface into the calm and beautiful energy that exists all around us. When we as a collective practice this technique on a regular basis, we can begin making some powerful changes in the world. We can see beyond biases and view each other as equals, we can be more receptive to our differences and celebrate the beautiful uniqueness that each of us offer to this world. I imagine a world where all ethnicities, colors, and cultures of people are honored under this notion- our hearts being fully open and awake to these energies.
Art is self-care, art is healing, art is a form growth.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My mission within my art is to spread the joy of how I see the world through my eyes: ethereal realities consisting of colorful energetic figures, the aliveness of nature; bright, saturated dream-like depictions that invoke you to see the beauty in small things. My art comes from my spiritual self, and I strive to mimic the unique beauty that can be represented within so many diverse human bodies and natural settings. My art stands out because of its execution of being vibrant and excitable, yet calm and serine to take in. I use mixed media techniques to express the energy within each piece, and favor drawing figures in pen and ink, while using splashes of bright saturated color to add to the energy of the work.
I get the most excited when a piece successfully tells a story of the figure or evokes an intended feeling from the viewer. I am so proud of how far I’ve come with the progression of my art career and the growth I’ve seen in my drawings. It has not been easy to balance my full-time job as a teacher, along with my creative life and the need to focus on career growth as well as spiritual alignment and self-preservation. I overcome these challenges by regularly setting small goals for myself and not biting off more than I can chew. I make sure to have allotted time to rest, exercise, eat well, and enjoy relationships. I try not to be too hard on myself.
Along the way I’ve learned that you are only as limited as the beliefs you take in. So many people live in a scarcity mindset and their dreams die out as they continue working for the system. Life is short, you might as well try to build some security doing what you’re passionate about. I want people to see my story and be inspired that anyone from any background can focus their talent or passion, take a leap and build a brand from the ground up. You don’t need anything but a dream, strong ambition and patience. If you are doing what you love, view everything as a learning experience. If you work hard, keep producing and aligning yourself in the right places, you cannot fail.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If a friend was visiting Colorado for a week, there are several must do things on my list. I’m a big craft beer fan so I would take them to some of my favorite breweries: Denver Beer Co., Prost, Avery, and Oskar Blues. I’m also a sucker for a nice, open sunny patio: Avanti, Recess Beer Garden, Ace Eat Serve and Raices. For food, Welton Street Café for delicious fried catfish, Sassafras for some down-home Cajun comfort food, and Sliceworks for awesome pizza with so many appetizing slice variations. For culture, the Clyfford Still is my favorite art museum in Denver of you’re into abstract art. There will also be several afternoons enjoying the ambiance of Cheesman Park, it’s a must that we stay for the sunset. For night life, X-Bar and Blush and Blue to see some good entertainment and be around friendly fun vibes. Of course, we need to squeeze a hike and mountain drive in there as well. These are some of my favorite regular things to do in beautiful Colorado.
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?
I’ll start from the very beginning and give a shout out to my family, who always celebrated good black art. Paintings of beautiful figures depicting the Black American experience. Annie Lee and Forest Kirk commonly adorned our walls, and my mother collected any black illustrated children’s book she could get her teacher hands on. This very art would plant familiar images in my head from childhood that would ultimately affect my style as an adult.
I am also grateful to friends who have been admirers of my work and who constantly gave me validation and support to keep creating and taking new opportunities.
A a shout out to the pandemic, that forced me to stay home and start to explore my passion for art again with my free time.
My best friend Sunshine who helped me create my website, gifted me several art supplies and always has sound advice about moving forward in my art career.
Also, anyone who has reached out with praises about how my art made them feel at peace- I appreciate you! That’s what keeps me going. This is my gift to you. Thank you.
Facebook: Art By Shaunie B.