The very multi-faceted Ashley Avis proves through her talents that abstract art isn't as simple as black & white. Inspired by what she calls “a gigantic abstract” that hung in her parents' living room as a child, the Venice-based artist, writer and filmmaker delved completely into her passion for abstract expression two years ago and she hasn't looked up from her canvas since.
Referring to her art as a “beautiful release,” Avis admits she took to painting when she’d grow restless working on writing projects. Whether delving into a script or working on a novel, she would search for a distraction to get her to what she calls “this meditative state.” She kept returning back to that painting from her childhood. Two years ago, her commitment to pursue this creative outlet strengthened and transpired into a profession as an artist. “Like wine or emotional growth, something deepened,” she reflects.
As the founder of the LA-based production company Alchemy Pictures, Avis says that the two creative processes help to complement each other in a most idyllic way. “I joke that I live two different lives, like a see-saw. I paint when I'm not writing, I write when I'm not painting.”
A fan of the starkness of black and white, the artist thrills in discovering a new way to influence paint. Working on both cotton duck canvas and wood, she is now beginning to experiment with aluminum. She works with a combination of acrylic, oil, ink, and textures that include shards of glass and sand. “I remember breaking a mirror and having pieces of it stuck to my body when a neighbor came over once,” she jokes of her use of organic objects. While she keeps a notebook that she jots down notes on colors and textures she seeks to create through her work, Avis admits that anything can change once she starts the painting process. “The lines, the use of color, the seeming randomness that somehow shape into this brilliant, deliberate whole,” she says in awe of what first drew her to abstract art.
Avis was selected to present her work at the first ever Art.Life Exhibition March 30-April 22 at the historic LA Mart. The Exhibition, produced by EWI Collection founder and creator Amy Demirchian, featured 50 of LA's most talented artists across many mediums. With portions of the proceeds going to Los Angeles Arts Alliance, an organization that promotes art among youth and artists in LA, the event ties in closely with Avis’ own commitment to fostering the artistic talents of children. The artist herself sponsors a seven-year-old artist, painting together with her several times a month. “To teach her and see her grow is absolutely, incomparably, incredible,” she says.
When asked where she draws inspiration for her own work, it’s clear Avis is both a writer and painter, as her list reads like an illustrated poem. “Music. Classical. James Brown. Anything nautical. Articles about exploding comets. Love. Loss of love. The sky, at twilight. Love, again. Rum.”