Wellington-based artist, Ashling, took time out to talk to us about her work, what inspires her and why she's a fan of Excio. She is amazingly talented self-taught artist who loves coffee and wine. She specializes in oil paintings and has recently entered the art scene. Ashling hopes her art will bring inspiration and peace to many. Enjoy the interview and share it with others!
Ashling Aileron holding her work "Medusa-Misunderstood" on Excio
E: What does being creative mean to you?
A: It’s a form of escapism. Create what’s in your head and try and bring it out to show other people what you envision and hope that other people will escape with you.
E: What kind of creative routine or rituals do you have? Do you stick to any traditions when you paint?
A: Yes! A glass of wine!
E: Before or after?
A: [Laughing] During!
I like to relax and then, sometimes when I paint I envision something based on what mood I’m in. If I’m in a very happy, relaxed mood then I paint something like pink clouds, a beach, a fluffy sea and its reflection and then you see light and you just go there and try to recreate it for people. If I’m in a cloudy mood then it is thunderstorm clouds and angry storms, outraging colours. It is very reflective of a personal feeling and the environment. On a grey cold day I might escape to something very bright and on a super-super sunny day, I may paint some dark and cool places, the moon or some soft colours.
E: What is your favourite artwork that you’ve created?
A: It’s a painting of my daughter. She said to me one day when she was 5: “Mommy, I want to be a fairy princess!”. I said: “OK, stay still and I’ll take a photo of you”. It took me 2 months to paint! She was more like a manager when I was painting it. It’s still my favourite artwork and it’s now in her room and her friends all wonder “How come she gets the painting?” When I told my daughter “Not all mommies paint” she was really surprised!
There are some works of mine that are just landscapes but all those works I connect to people. There’s a special piece that I recently finished and it’s called Dawn’s Liberation. It’s dedicated to my close friend who’s in a wheelchair and she can only walk with sticks. This piece is drawn from her energy – she’s always positive. Her favourite place is the Bahamas and I hope when she gets her balance back (which she will) that I’ll be able to go there with her! She lives in the UK by the way. She’s always so cheerful and positive and those pink colours represent her and the reflection on the water is the positivity.
E: What are you trying to communicate with your art?
A: How I feel. There’s a very famous quote by Charles Bukowski: “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” This is my favourite quote. Feelings are very hard to describe and I think a painting can describe a thousand words without language barriers. It is visual language. I have people who write to me on my Facebook page and say “You have inspired me to start painting again!” and it feels so much better than just selling the work.
E: How often do you paint? What motivates you?
A: I try to do it every day, but it’s not possible. Some days I paint at night as I’m busy during the day. Sometimes I want to paint but I’m so exhausted, so I try to do some sketches. I try to paint 3 times a week even if it’s just for 0.5 hours before I pick up my daughter from school. What’s really great is you see the painting differently every time and it creates a symphony.
"Medusa - Misunderstood"
E: Do you listen to music when you paint?
A: Yes, I have my headphones on! I listen to music and depending on my mood – like when I want to bring up a vibrant mood, I listen to a very uplifting music and then if I want to create clouds or something calm, then I listen to a kind of calm, house music. Sometimes I dance when I paint and my husband gives me looks and sometimes he has to come and ask me, “Can you stop whistling!?”. In the winter I paint in front of the fireplace (it’s warm) and I like the orange light of it. I like painting at night as you see things very differently, when everything is quiet and as you listen to the music you can see where you want to go and what you want to bring out.
E: How do you normally promote your work?
A: I have a page on FB, but I don’t find it really helpful. I’m a moderator of some FB groups for artists and get some exposure through that as well. I’ve had encounters with some galleries, but they’re only interested in money and see you from the perspective of how much money they can generate from you and this is not what I’m interested in. Some galleries take as much as 50% commission – and this is where the term “starving artist” comes from! [laughing] I don’t think you should create a painting solely for money.
E: What attracted you most in Excio?
A: I give everything a try so I downloaded Excio after I saw it in the newspaper and I thought it is a good idea and what impressed me most is that it changes your screen! It’s like magic! And the best thing about it is when you click on it, it pops up and shows you who the artist is which is really good for me as an artist and links to your website or Facebook page which is really good exposure, a really good idea.
E: What advice would you give to other artists out there?
A: Well, wow… I can’t really give any advice because I recently started painting… but I’d say don’t give up! Sometimes making a living out of art is very hard, but you need to see the purpose of why do you paint? For yourself or just to sell? But you really have to keep trying to fulfill what you paint. If I can’t paint, I’ll die, seriously, it is just part of me! I want to bring it out and show people. So my advice will be, enjoy what you do and don’t give up!
Ashling in her home-based studio