We reached out to Ashley in June 2020, and she took some time to share what she likes about living here, pandemic affects, and a look at one of her current projects:
What brought you to the northern Berkshires, and how do you like living here?
I moved here from Colorado in 2017 through the Assets for Artists North Adams Project at MASS MoCA. When I first arrived, I didn’t know a single person in the area. Over the past three years, I’ve fallen in love with the art community, MASS MoCA, The Clark, and our beautiful green mountains. I’ve spent many long afternoons exploring Mount Greylock and The Appalachian trail, searching for mosses, lichens, and Eastern newts…
How has it been living and working here during these times of pandemic and upheaval?
So many artists in the area are struggling, but it feels like we’re all in this together. The pandemic has made me feel incredibly grateful for my friends, my partner, and for our compassionate, connected community. Assets for Artists has also been an amazing resource for all of us dealing with various forms of loss.
Like many of us, I’m currently re-calibrating and trying to figure out what comes next.
Recently, I started volunteering at a mental health crisis line, communicating with people struggling with the effects of the pandemic, domestic abuse, racism, and police violence. Volunteering has helped focus my energy, and I’ve been able to return to my studio with a clearer sense of purpose.
Will you tell us about one of your current projects?
I’m working on a series of paintings and a book project called Communication Attempts. The book is about whales singing across noisy oceans, trees transmitting messages through subterranean fungi, and binary stars tumbling towards each other through deep space. It also tells the fantastical story of a girl who is slowly turning into a fuzzy brown moth! The story concludes during the age of coronavirus as humans grapple with an unfamiliar kind of isolation and find new ways to communicate.
To enjoy more of Ashley’s extraordinary work, follow her on Instagram and check out her website below.