5 Questions With Trailblazing Pop Artist Ashley Longshore
Five Questions With Ashley Longshore, Feminist Pop Artist
By Chloe Cornell
I am so excited to present renowned pop artist Ashley Longshore as our Five Questions subject this month. Ashley, who is a self-taught New Orleans-based mixed-media artist and entrepreneur, has been described as a young, feminist Andy Warhol due to her obsession with pop culture figures and brands as well as her relationships with celebrities and billionaire entrepreneurs.
Ashley’s larger-than-life personality, glittering and irreverent artwork, unabashed celebration of the quirky and unique, sassy sense of humor, and celebrity following has lead to extensive media coverage including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, InStyle, WWD, Oprah Magazine, People and more as well as appearances on Seth Meyers’ Late Night television show. The New York Times has called Ashley “Fashion’s Latest Art Darling,” exemplified by her becoming the first female artist to have a solo exhibit at Bergdorf Goodman in the store’s over-100 year history and her design of the store’s newly opened restaurant Palette. In addition to many collaborations with luxury brands including Gucci, Judith Leiber, Mark Cross, Chloé, Titan Black custom Rolexes, Veuve Clicquot and creating an ad campaign for Net-a-Porter’s “The Outnet”, Ashley also partnered with Diane von Furstenberg to create forty paintings of iconic women in honor of 2019’s International Women’s Month that were exhibited in DVF’s NYC flagship store and will soon be travelling around the world. The portraits, which featured Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jackie Kennedy, Marlene Dietrich, Cleopatra, Oprah, Gloria Steinem, Whitney Wolfe Herd, Michelle Obama, Frida Kahlo, and more was the first time that Ashley made art absent of bedazzle, sparkle, or resin, letting the women’s power shine.
Ashley is fascinated by our culture’s obsession with money and material objects and her artwork often features high-end luxury brands, status symbols or pop culture figures who signify wealth, power and conspicuous consumption. Notable customers of her art include Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Kelly Ripa, Penelope Cruz, Diane von Furstenberg, Katherine Heigl, Tommy and Dee Hilfiger, Ryan Reynolds and Princess Sora.
Ashley is open about her childhood struggles as a misfit and her numerous rejections from art galleries before she found her success. She shares her stories to inspire her fans to be authentic and follow their dreams just as she did. As Ashley told Forbes, “You surrender to your weirdness or it haunts you your whole life.” The magazine named her one of the leading female entrepreneurs of the South. Her business savvy is evident through the innovative ways that she sells her art including through Instagram where she sold $1.3 million of paintings in under two hours, and her direct-to-collector monthly subscription program called Artgasm which offers collectors unprecedented access to one of a kind, hand-signed items only available through the program. 250 members are accepted annually and receive four exclusive pieces each year for a fee, providing a source of diversified revenue for Ashley in addition to creating direct relationships with her collectors and fans.
Ashley is also the author of the book You Don’t Look Fat, You Look Crazy – An Unapologetic Guide to Being Ambitchous and the upcoming Ashley Longshore: I Do Not Cook, I Do Not Clean, I Do Not Fly Commercial coming out in September 2019.
I met with Ashley in her exuberant art gallery at 4537 Magazine Street in New Orleans. I highly recommend that everyone pay Ashley a visit, not only to see her fabulous artwork, but to also experience her amazing energy and contagious enthusiasm.
Chloe: It seems as if your career has exploded in the past few years – from January 2018 when you made history as the first female artist to have a solo exhibit at Bergdorf Goodman and designing their Palette at BG cafe in June, to collaborations with Judith Leiber and creating an art exhibit with Diane von Furstenberg. Of course success doesn’t happen overnight and you often reference your previous struggles. Can you identify a few catalysts that led to the success you are enjoying today?
Ashley: I believe in the American dream. I believe in making my own money. I believe in creating my own destiny. I am the little engine that could. I also love proving the naysayers wrong. I was a nerd and I didn’t fit in when I was in school and the very thing that was weird about me is the thing that makes me great now. I have a lot to prove to myself.
Chloe: Can you tell us more about the female icon exhibit with Diane von Furstenberg? How did it come about? We understand it will be travelling to other cities as well?
Ashley: The exhibit at the DVF flagship is absolutely marvelous. Diane curated me and chose these amazing women and the constant thread of all of these iconic women is that they had struggles and they had hardships but fear was never an option. They succeeded, so the room is filled with the energy of optimism and inspiration. Yes we are taking it to other cities more details to come.
Chloe: You are a true role model for women’s empowerment and you seem to be on a mission to inspire people from your amazing instagram posts, your artwork, and your overall vibe. Have you always been this way or can you identify some life event/experience that influenced you to become the woman that you are?
Ashley: As much as I felt that I wasn’t sure if I would find my place in the world, I always knew that I could count on myself. I love me some me. I believe in me and I can only be me. So, I feel that just by being my authentic self it opens the door for people to be inspired to do the same.
Chloe: What personality traits and skills have you found to be most important in aiding your career thus far? What qualities would you like to be known for?
Ashley: Graciousness and enthusiasm. I want to be known for being hard working, spontaneous, enthusiastic and gracious.
Chloe: You have an enormous following from celebrities to artists to young girls like us. Who inspires you? Where do you get your ideas for your art?
Ashley: I am inspired by people who are brave enough to be themselves. Most often, I am inspired by “the weirder the better”. I like originality and my art stems from my own experiences. It’s my job to paint my inner monologue. It’s my job to be vulnerable and share my thoughts with you. And it’s fun because everyone knows where I stand. I don’t like passive-aggressiveness. I like to have fun! I like to work hard and I like to just go for it!