For this week’s artist interview, I had the chance to speak to the artist Ashley Sharpe in the Merlino gallery, who is currently seeking a BFA in print making. In all honesty, when I walked into Sharpe’s gallery I was overwhelmed with a sense of happiness. Her print pieces, all of cats, were beyond adorable in my opinion.
According to Sharpe, she chose to focus her pieces on cats due to the way they affect her an her life. Although she’s never had cats herself, through friends and roommates she’s been impacted by such. To her, cats bring a sense of peace and harmony in her life. She feels content, in a sense. When she had first moved here, she dealt with a lot of anxiety and the cats in her apartment helped calm that for her.
With her work, Sharpe wanted to incorporate some sort of pattern and repetition throughout– such as in the circular lithographs and her water color prints. With this, even though the prints are form one of the same, each would be different than the previous and next but still hold some sort of similarity.
Sharpe claims she’s not the best drawer and therefore not many of her pieces are hand drawn but manipulatively altered in Photoshop. Through this, Sharpe tends to incorporate geometric shapes and abstract textures to each piece. Textures are the one thing she tries to maintain in each piece.
In the gallery, there were some duplicates of art (in the sense that they were the same print but different colors) and various other creations of Sharpe’s. My favorite pieces would e that of the kaleidoscope and kitten watercolor prints. I liked both the colored and monochrome versions, they were definitely something I saw myself hanging on my bedroom wall– and I never really saw myself as a huge fan of cats to begin with.
Each cat that is depicted is some cat Sharpe has interacted with at some point in her life– whether physically or even online (she sometimes uses “internet sensation cats”). She admits that she has always loved cats and they’re definitely her muse (as a child she used to doodle cats on her tests and get in trouble). “I sadly follow over 100 cats on Instagram.”
Also as a child, Sharpe was influenced by art. Her mother was an interior designer while both her grandma and father painted. To her, it [art] was in her blood and hence her need to pursue it.
As for future works, Sharpe says she’s trying to branch off from cats. Currently, she’s working on food related prints. “I guess I’m pretty pop-culture.” She’s also working on a mold of a life-sized cat. Mold making is fun, according to Sharpe, but screen printing is her favorite (even though she had hated it to begin with).
After getting her BFA, Sharpe would like to go to grad school or get her teaching credentials; it’s just the matter of her financial status to do such. Do to this, she thinks she may do grad schools in a year or two after her BFA. She does, however, want to stay in the gallery scene as much as she can.
Overall, I really liked Sharpe’s gallery. I repeatedly told her how much I liked the colors and how cute I thought all her pieces were. And, like I said above, although I’m not too fond of cats (or so I thought?) I found every aspect of this gallery to be adorable. I would highly recommend this gallery to anyone– especially that of cat lovers.