Artist Spotlight: Evan Ashly

Evan Ashly is a DC-based artist who specializes in illustration and graphic design. Just take one look at her Instagram and you'll find visual stories full of quirky characters that'll captivate you. But, that's not all she has up her sleeve. She's a pro at print, web and app design too. Check out my interview with her about where she finds inspiration, her dream job and creative blocks. 

1. What inspires your illustrations?

Everyday life really. Fashion as of now. I really like drawing female faces when I don't know what to draw...drawing a face is sort of mindless for me because I often draw from my imagination. 

2. How is your personality reflected in your work?

I like to try and find humor in everyday life. So a lot of my illustrations have a subtle touch of humor in them . I'm a low key person most of the time but people tell me I have a very expressive face, so I often make all the characters in my drawings have a wide range of facial expressions.  

3. What's your dream job?

I would like to be my own boss eventually and make a living off of illustrating  and writing my own graphic novels....and then maybe start doing animation.   

4. What artists do you look up to or admire? 

I am a story teller and dreamer at heart, so I like artists who are able tell a story visually. I love the works of Hayao Miyazaki's. I love how he pays attention to every detail of a character, even the subtle things. There's a scene  from Spirited Way, where the main character Chihiro is putting on her shoes and she taps the front of her shoe to get her foot to fit in the shoe right, I just love that detail. It adds so much to the character. I also love Annie Lee and Varnette Honeywood. My aunt has their works all over her house and I just remember spending like 5 minutes looking at one painting because their was so much going on. There's the actual painting and then there's the story it is depicting. 

5. If any, what kind of art is unappealing to you?

I think every artistic form has a purpose, I don't really focus on things I don't find unappealing so I really can't say. 

6. How do you overcome creative blocks?

I really didn't create any artwork after finishing college four years ago. I think I was creatively exhausted for a year after I graduated. I also felt very self conscious about my work and calling myself an art professional. It wasn't until I participated in the staff showcase at the Phillips Collection that I started to feel more comfortable doing art again. While creating the piece for the staff showcase gave me so much anxiety, I did feel a sense of accomplishment when I saw my piece in the gallery.  Also a friend of mine gave me a book called "Art and Fear" which helped me get over creative blocks. 

7. Do you plan on putting more of you illustrations on merchandise?

Yes definitely,  I have illustrated pillows on my shop Evan Ashly Designs. I'd also like to put them on other types of apparel, accessories and home goods. 

8. Where can we find your work?

You can find my work on my website and on my Instagram account @evanash7art.  

Please support her and all of our local artists! You can visit her Etsy shop here. Stay tuned for my next edition of Artist Spotlight, an ongoing series that highlights DC artists!