Step Inside Ashley Longshore's Pop-Chic Art Studio

The ultra-coveted artist gives us a peek into her creative process.

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At Consort, we’re always excited to meet artists who share our appreciation for all things playfully chic, which is why we jumped at the chance to take a peek inside ultra-coveted pop artist Ashley Longshore’s New Orleans studio space.

Photo: Greg Miles

Ashley Longshore is truly an artist with her finger on the pulse, blending energy and wit in her paintings for a heavy dose of playful pop culture commentary. Self-admittedly obsessed with iconic fashion brands and celebrities alike (it doesn’t hurt that her own squad includes Blake Lively), Longshore’s style artfully mixes the modern and the historical to create a current, vibrant, rebellious result. With subject matter ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Kate Moss to Lil Wayne, some might say you haven’t really “made it” until Ashley Longshore has painted a piece in your likeness.

Longshore’s New Orleans studio is a bright, happy space full of colorful paintings and furnishings created by the artist and accessorized with eclectic, irreverent decorative touches (we even spotted our brass “middle finger” hand in the mix). Fun, cheeky, fabulous, and exactly what you’d expect from a playfully chic tastemaker.

Scroll to check out Ashley Longshore’s musings on her artistic process along with a peek inside her pop art studio.

Photo: Paul Costello

Consort: Pop culture personas and brands feature prominently in your work. What about pop culture inspires you?

Longshore: What I love about pop culture is it is the world that were living in! I’m very consumed with status and branding, especially being a woman in America. Whether we choose to embrace it or not, we’re all defined by what we have on, by our fashion; whether you are a business man and you’re wearing a suit, or maybe you’re a tech guy and you’re worth a billion dollars and you wear a tank top and flip-flops in San Francisco. As a woman, I feel like, you know, we really look at other women and go, “Oh god, what handbag does she have? How big is her diamond? Is she wearing Chanel?” We are just all sorts of consumers. On the other hand, the whole idea that our society is changing so much, that women are working more, that the shopping environment is changing, I wonder if these things really define us as much as they used to? This is sort of my ongoing experiment being an American woman living in the world, and my paintings are just my thoughts about this.

Photo: Paul Costello

C: Describe your artistic process. Do you actively seek out inspiration in certain ways, or do you wait for inspiration to come to you?

L: Inspiration is a fickle mistress, and it’s a bit like falling love: you never know when it’s going happen. It’s like the difference between saying you’re going to go out and meet your husband versus when you just don’t give a damn and you go out with your friends and you’re happy and you meet the love of your life all in that night. It isn’t really something you can search for. For me, I do study things. I study fashion, I get obsessed with different people form history. Right now I’m reading a lot about Rosa Parks being from Montgomery. I’m extremely inspired my her. I hope to start a whole collection of paintings that feature her very soon. It’s hard to really pin that down now. I do hole up. I go somewhere in nature for a few months out of the year. I’ll go to Maui for a month, I’ll go to Asheville, North Carolina for a month, and I’ll really get out into nature and think about it all: the branding and things that are coming at me in the media, magazines, internet, society and really try to find what I really want to say. Nature is a very important part of me clearing my mind and getting into exactly what does inspire me.

Photo: Paul Costello

Photo: Michael Smith courtesy of Ashley Longshore

C: How do you decide which images and words will create the most thought-provoking combination in your pieces?

L: I see it very clearly in my mind. If something makes me belly laugh or something really gets me excited, I know it immediately, and then I paint like a wild woman. It’s a very instantaneous thing. It isn’t like me painting an image and then thinking about words. They happen all at once. Like if you have an idea of making a cake you probably don’t just want cake, you want icing too. You visualize the whole thing at once.

Photo: Paul Costello

Photo: Paul Costello

C: What makes New Orleans a great place to work as an artist?

L: I’ve been talking about this a lot lately. It’s such a great city that really welcomes the bohemian, unique, eccentric, wild persona. If we look at New Orleans throughout history, we can see it’s a city that has accepted that all along. I feel very safe creating my work there. Although 90% of my clients are not in New Orleans, it is a place where I can be very wild and bohemian and really dive into my work. It just feels like a very safe, non-judgmental, creative city to be producing my thoughts. It’s a city where people really celebrate the arts. There’s nowhere else that I would really rather live, except Rome. I’ve thought about all kinds of cities in the US and they just don’t have what New Orleans has for me. It’s been an ongoing love affair with the city for sure.

Photo: Paul Costello

C: Your work mashes up modern and historical references with a very current point of view. How do you keep your finger on the proverbial cultural pulse so that your work always feels relevant? 

L: I have to stay in tune with exactly where my thoughts are. Here I am, an American woman, living in the middle of all of this. I’m a consumer. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m an artist. I’m a designer. I have an education. My thoughts are relevant because I’m living my life everyday as much as I possibly can. I’m in the thick of it. Between social media and my collectors and these amazing college kids that are always coming to visit me and other artists that I’m mentoring—I’m extremely inspired. I have a very strong pulse on what’s cool, but I’m not thinking about that when I’m creating. I’m literally in the moment in the world that I’m living in.

Photo: Paul Costello

Photo: Paul Costello

C: What’s next for you? Any exciting projects are on the horizon?

L: Why yes there are, thank you for asking! I have a book coming out in February through Regan Arts. It is a really, really great memoir of how I’ve gotten where I’ve gotten so far. It’s called You Don’t Look Fat, You Look Crazy. I’m super super super excited about this. I also have a home line coming out, and I’ll have some pieces available (which I’ll surprise everyone on my social media). They’re very limited numbers because I really want maintain the factor that everything I’m producing is art and not mass-produced. The month of December there will be links popping up where you can acquire these extremely hard-to-get pieces, so I’m really really excited about that. Also in December I’ll have my smalls collection (miniature 12” x12” pieces) which I only do twice a year. There’s a lot going on! I’ll also be a part of a big fundraiser at the National Women’s Art Museum in Washington, DC on October 19th. We’ll be raising money for EBeauty and breast cancer awareness. Eight pieces of mine included, and they’ll be lighting the museum up pink. 

Photo: Paul Costello

Do you share our obsession with Ashley Longshore's playfully chic pop art? Sound off in the comments! 

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