Hello! I’m pleased to have another feature on O9, and this time, it’s about an artist who really makes life as her primary inspiration. Ashley is one of those people who use art as an outlet for positivity. I have always appreciated people who work not for themselves, but for social progress and the community at large! It’s great to talk to someone who puts their time and effort towards helping others and also invests in her own creative progress. Ashley’s art is colourful and frank, and she also uses watercolours (which I absolutely love!) so I contacted her to get some insight on her process.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Ashley Churbock and I am the creator and artist behind Rock, Paint, Scissors. By day I am a licensed professional counselor and work in an urban middle school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana running a drop out prevention program. Besides that, my heart lies with art and being creative. My work consists mainly of digital prints but I also dabble in painting and paper products.
What sparked your interest in art in general? How long have you been practicing?
I have always been into art and took advantage of taking art classes throughout school and into college. I have always been told that I have a natural gift and talent in art and found that it was a great way for me to express myself in a safe and healthy way. I started out interested in drawing, which turned into a love for painting. I only recently took up graphics and digital design within the last year. It helps me create work more quickly, efficiently, and produce affordable work for others. It is a different type of art that I happen to really enjoy and see a great potential in.
How do you interpret the presence and significance of art in your lifestyle?
Being a counselor by trade, I know the importance of self care. Art has always been an outlet for me to express myself and be creative which is extremely important to me. I love sharing my passions with others and this is a great way to do so. I have always created my favorite pieces for those closest to me and proud that I can give them something unique, special, and one of a kind. Art has been and always will be a vital part of my life to keep me sane, motivated, and inspired!
What is your general process while creating an art piece?
First I identify my inspiration and vision for a piece. I am constantly having ideas pop into my head and I jot these down in my phone to keep a running list of what I want to see transformed into art. From there I choose which media I want to use (Illustrator, drawing, painting, mixed media, etc). Then I decide on color palette, font, and dimensions (what size canvas or print). Next, I gather other materials needed such as paint, paint brushes, canvas, etc. (if needed). Then I begin!
For digital prints, I typically like to start and finish them within one time frame if possible. With paintings, I typically grid my paintings and work in layers so that I can blend and make changes as needed. I usually post my work on Instagram and Etsy at the same time, get feedback, and make necessary changes from there!
What keeps you motivated creatively?
Usually it revolves around 3 things: love, work, and humor. My boyfriend, family, and those that I am close with constantly inspire me. Relationships are the utmost importance to me. Without them, nothing would be possible. Work gives me a lot of motivation and drive and purpose in life. Working with kids constantly inspires me. I work with students who are underprivileged and live in poverty, high crime areas. These students show me what true resiliency looks like and make me a better person on a daily basis. I know I was put here to do good in the world and help others. And humor keeps me going. You have to be able to laugh at yourself and at the world when things are tough.
How much time on an average does it take to create a piece?
Typically my paintings take anywhere from 8-10 hours (smaller canvas typically 2-4 hours) and digital prints it varies greatly depending on the amount of detail and layering involved.
Just out of interest, what was the first (or your favourite ) piece of art you remember creating?
My favorite piece was a large painting I did for an ex boyfriend of mine. He had served 2 tours in Afghanistan and there was a picture of him that I thought really captured him and his experience. I was determined to paint that picture for him to honor him and his service. I am very humbled and in awe of our military men and women and can never express my appreciation for all that they do. His tours are a major part of who he is, what he has overcome, and molded him into the great man that he is today and I wanted him to have an original piece to represent that time in his life.
Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?
I work full time at a middle school trying to change and mold the youth of America! Typically I attempt to create one digital print a day after I get off of work. I also exercise 5-6 days a week to keep myself in shape. I like to keep myself mentally and physically healthy and really enjoy my free time to do the things I truly enjoy outside of work. Spending quality time with my boyfriend is also important and building my relationship with him, as well as my friendships.
(Ashley’s black and white gallery wall- her inspiration at the moment)
How do you balance your creative thought while maintaining a business approach when it comes to selling your art?
Honestly, creativity comes first. I create art because I love it and business comes second to that. I approach the business aspect as a bonus to doing something I love to do! I created my Etsy shop to share what I love and allow others the opportunity to purchase and enjoy the art just as I do. My reward comes from knowing that my art can contribute to a room, office, or home that is special to that person and makes them feel comfortable, cozy, inspired and at peace.
Just for fun: what’s your outfit staple and flower and why?
This is a hard one! I love, love, love my white converse because they are so versatile and classic. My favorite flower is an orchid. There is just something beautiful and powerful about an orchid that I love.
You have a very watercolour and typography inspired Etsy shop! What motivated you to start a creative business?
I have what I like to call a torn artistic heart. I love the abstract feel of watercolors and the clean lines of typography. I think you can appreciate both for what they are and felt that others, like myself, would really appreciate a shop that allows you to download prints and use them as they see fit. The majority of my downloads are $2, which is a very affordable and budget friendly version to buying expensive prints. I have always lived on a budget and found it was difficult to decorate my apartment the way I wanted. I have always relied on my own talents to decorate my apartment and thought it would be neat to see my work in others’ homes. Once I found Illustrator, I realized I could create my own prints in a very cost effective way and felt that others would appreciate this option, as well! Prints can easily be downloaded and printed on a home or office printer or can be sent to your local Walgreens, CVS, or other print stores that can print the JPG for a very low cost. Pop these into a cute frame and you can make over your room for $10 or less!
What are some themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays?
Change, and the ebbs and flows of life, are really inspiring me lately. I have had a year full of change that has me feeling very hopeful, grateful, and positive. Last year (2014) was a very hard year for me and I decided that I really wanted to take control of the things that were in my power. I wanted to ensure that I was mentally strong and art has helped me cope with life’s stressors and obstacles. Through building my business, I feel more empowered and encouraged for my future and excited to see where it takes me. It is never too late to go after your dreams! I have always dreamed of art being a major component of my life and excited to see where the venture takes me!
What are some of your favourite art supplies and art media you use?
Adobe Illustrator, acrylic paint and watercolor paint are my top 3 favorite medias. Illustrator allows for such amazing shapes, lines, textures, and possibilities. Acrylic paint is great for blending and abstract and watercolor is a beautiful challenge and sharpens my skills.
Could you share three tips that make a good, satisfactory piece of art (which the artist feels happy about the end result)?
Art is so subjective and I can be a little perfectionistic! My three tips would be:
1- Do what feels right to you. Part of the beauty is feeling the artist through the piece. Being yourself and creating art that is unique to you and your vision is the most important.
2- Choose your media wisely- do what works for you! I would love to work with wood but I have no idea how to use a saw properly. It is important to have goals and try to better yourself artistically. But, in the meantime, do what you know and do it well.
3- Accept feedback- use the feedback you are given to drive your work. Trends change so often and you have to change with it. This does not mean you only do what is popular, this means listening to your audience and allowing outsiders help inspire you!
Thanks Ashley, for a little glimpse into your art at Rock, Paint, Scissors! Wishing you all the best ahead!