I’m so happy to be bringing this artist into the Spotlight series. Ashleymarie is not only extremely talented and creative, she and I went through the same Art Program at California State Long Beach. Go Beach! I’m very excited to be able to let you all know about her adorable and hand painted work.
Hi Ashleymarie! Thank you so much for giving us a little peek into your work and some behind the scenes info!
1. First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a freelance artist who dabbles in many different types of art styles. I love working traditionally doing sketches, illustrations, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, paper cutting, etc. I also create logos and other graphic design needs for companies large and small. During the holidays I make limited edition ornaments, but I really found a niche in name painting.
2. How did you get started with your name paintings?
I started learning sign painting (also known as leather brush art) when I worked in Disneyland Park and Downtown Disney over 5 years ago. I met so many people and had so much fun working there. I was able to interact and mingle with people and create artwork for them. Seeing the joy and awe in their faces really made it for me. Just after a year I left once I got married and started working at a graphic design company. Definitely not my thing, but thankfully we were blessed with our first child and I got to stay at home and freelance.
We moved closer to our families as our own grew to four and I didn’t start name painting again until a year ago. I just did it out of curiosity to see if I could remember how, and if it would be a wise career move to bring in some extra money. It was fun to do, and people loved it! I opened my Etsy shop back up and switched from selling prints to strictly selling name art. I have posted more listings with various themes that inspire the work.
3. I love how you can bring any type of character into the sign lettering, each of them is instantly recognizable. Did you have any special training to learn how to do this?
Line and lettering has always been a fascination with mine, along with pop culture. I was so happy to find a way to merge all three worlds and to make something successful and joyful out of it. Besides the basic strokes I learned from previous leather brush artists, just like with any art, you have to play and figure out your style. It took time to develop my own, and I’m always tweaking it. The learning never ends. And neither do new themes and characters. I try to keep things simple, but retain a few elements that makes the character recognizable and unique. When I let go, and not worry about perfection, that is when the artwork becomes more interesting and beautiful.
Fun fact, I never used to be able to read name art before. I could from far away, but up close it took a bit of focus.
4. I see your social media posts pop up all the time and it’s easy to see you enjoy what you do. We love both the Disney and Geek elements you bring in. What is your process like?
I have been a Disney and Geek girl all my life. The first time my best friend invited me to join her at Comic Con, my inner nerd squealed and pretty much exploded. Name painting has brought me back into the worlds I love so much, in a new way. Clients are always asking if I can do this theme or that theme or do a certain character. I love it when I can play with new characters or themes, though each name painting is always unique and one of a kind. That’s the best part! I don’t have to stay cookie cutter. Customers aren’t buying something that is being duplicated and run off. They are all painted individually by me.
When I do name paint, I often have Netflix or Hulu streaming (Castle, Once Upon a Time, Arrow, Agents of Shield, etc.) or I’m listening to Calling Out with Susan Pinsky podcasts. I’m a huge paranormal fan. Go figure.
5. Aside from the love of Disney and Geek culture, what other sources of artistic inspiration do you draw from?
Other artists. My kids. Cartoons. Everywhere. There is inspiration in everything. You just have to take a moment and look. I really learned this when I had to step back from art and care for my babies when they were new. Most of my time was spent snuggling them, so my hands were full, but I never stopped learning and taking in knowledge. I drink it up in everything I’m doing. Each thing that is put in front of you in life will be used at some point later on. Nothing is wasted. So take every moment and opportunity you have to learn, to grow, to evolve, and just observe. You may not know how it will apply to something later, but it will.
6. What are your favorite designs or characters to create?
When it comes to name painting, I love when I get to create new designs. My favorite character? Hmmm. Normally it would be mermaids, but I would rather sketch or paint them with acrylic and watercolor. I would have to say I love painting butterflies and flowers theme, or the reptile theme. I didn’t think that would be my answer, but they lend themselves easier to morph into a letter or play with shape. Though painting people is fun, it’s more like you play dress up with them, which I also like.
7. Any big plans or special projects for the upcoming holidays?
To get organized and ready for the holiday rush! Orders are already coming in strong and I want to be prepared. Last year I just started this and kinda was in over my head a bit. I feel a bit more prepared and ready this year than last. My next and last major event I am painting and selling my prints at is Bakersfield Comic Con at the Kern County Fair Grounds on November 22, 2015. I’ve been vending at the event for years and it got so big they had to move it to a bigger venue. I am very excited. We just wrapped up with Heroes & Horror Con a few weekends ago, which also was a blast and I will be back there next year as well. I tend to do a limited run on my ornaments and holiday cards as they usually sell out before I can even get them on Etsy. Besides that, I plan on having a lovely time with my family during the holiday and celebrating my 30th birthday watching Star Wars on the big screen (my ultimate love)!
8. Where can we find you if our readers would like to order from you?
Besides local cons, I sell my name art on Etsy, which they can visit here – www.seystudios.etsy.com. If there is a theme they don’t see or a special character, they can always message me and ask if I do it. Most times, I can make other inspired themes. Just ask. :)
**Ashleymarie will also be at Bakersfield Comic Con as mentioned above, Nov. 22, 2015 with a whole booth to browse! If you’re around, go check it out!
9. What is the best thing about what you do?
I love name painting because it is relaxing, challenging and makes others happy. Not only am I creating art, but I can work from home and still be an awesome mom and homeschool our little ones and teach them art too.
10. This is the most important question…. What is your favorite Disney Parks attraction?
Definitely, the Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise, which is the theme in our home. Our wedding was even themed tiki. On our honeymoon I fell in love with the Polynesian Villiage Resort. I would love to take a trip and go to the Aulani Resort with our familiy one day. Or even a Disney Cruise. See, I can’t just pick ONE.
Though, the Tiki Room will always be number one. It was the first Disneyland experience that I can remember with my Grandpa George sitting next to me singing the song. It’s such a fun song.
Though we focused primarily on her Name Paintings in the Spotlight, Ashleymarie also does a variety of other illustration work. She was featured in several magazines, has created some adorable logos for various Women’s groups, and does freelance commissions.
One piece in particular I wanted to highlight, she submitted to Bakersfield Magazine for Heart Health Awareness. It was extremely close to Ashleymarie’s family.
I was compelled to submit in the cover contest because the awareness was for heart health. When my brother, Michael, was born he had a hole in his heart and when he had surgery for it a few years later, it really hit me hard as I was barely a teen. I love him so much and he wouldn’t be here today without the help of so many people and the strength of my parents and grandparents. When my piece made the cover the first year, I wanted to continue to make one artwork focusing on it every year. By year two I submitted again and it won. I won’t stop making pieces that mean something to me and brings hope to others.
Thank you so much Ashleymarie for joining us! Guys, go check her out at the following locations: