Artist’s Name: Ashli Randall
Name of Brand: Dezigned By Ash
Artist’s Age: 23
Art form: Graphic Design, Fine Art (painting, pencil drawings, etc.), Digital Illustration
Online Store: The Punny Series
Why do you do what you do? When did you realize a passion for what you do?
I’ve had a love for Art from as early as 3 years old. Colouring books made me so happy (low-key still do) and I would go through at least 5 every month. As I grew up and became more exposed to the various art forms, I got deeper and deeper into art on a whole. So I started drawing (everyday…everywhere lol), writing poetry, playing musical instruments, sewing, crafting and designing clothes. By the time I hit high school, I knew it was my passion and all I wanted to do was Art…lol I wanted to ‘Art’ for the rest of my life. It’s hard to explain in words but, to be frank, I do what I do because it makes me happy…It gives me overwhelming peace, satisfaction, and it’s the ultimate release.
What is your educational background?
I went to MarJam Preparatory in Ocho Rios and went on to Immaculate for High School. I was generally a very quiet, shy student. My favourite subjects were Spanish, Art and Design, English Literature and Language, Information Technology and History. I placed tenth in the Island for CXC Visual Art and went to pursue my Bsc in International Relations and Operations Management at the University of the West Indies…weird right? Let’s just say at some point I discovered a love for Logistics; but that’s a whole other story…
What are some of the challenges that you have faced while trying to pursue your passion?
The first challenge I faced was actually figuring out what I wanted to do with Art. I was in 6th form (12th Grade) and refused to do another year of high school because I didn’t want to be forced to study and prepare for another set of exams when I just wanted to be an Artist. The problem was I wasn’t familiar with the wide variety of careers in Art and I started to feel like I couldn’t find any lucrative, reasonable options. All I knew is that I wanted to be an Artist. It got harder when decision deadlines and critical ‘future’ conversations came up I felt like my life was in limbo.
The other challenge I faced actually came after I finally found a career to pursue. I met an amazing education advisor, aka superwoman, named Sandra Bramwell, who introduced me to Digital Animation. I applied to all the schools in the US of A, I got into most of them with scholarships…but…it was still too expensive. So I went through various waves of hope and disappointment until I found myself back in limbo.
Have you encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams?
OH YES! Lot’s… When I left prep school, I entered the life of “What do you want to in the future?”…It’s as if completing that segment of my life was a trigger for career decisions because CXC and CAPE were approaching and those would determine what field I could enter. Whenever they would ask, I would proudly say “An Artist, an Architect, a Fashion Designer, etc” and they would either give the ‘are you serious?’ look, tell me I’m not going to make money or full on recommend different fields.
How did you initially react to those people and how do you act towards them now?
I tend to internalize things because I generally don’t like confrontation, so I wouldn’t react on the surface. Instead I would get annoyed and even unknowingly build a wall between the person and myself, so that relationship became tainted. Sometimes I would react with a bit of shock, especially if the persons were family, because I didn’t expect to receive discouragement from them. Avoiding these persons became a default for me.
Today I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to move on from that and put an end to the ‘wall-building’. My relationship with Christ has taught me the importance of forgiveness and I’m totally cool with the people who reacted negatively to my Artistic aspirations. I’ve also learned over time that people are different…we all respond and process things differently. So instead of thinking “they’re so closed-minded, discouraging and judgmental”, it’s better to consider the fact that they have not been exposed to the art industry and all it has to offer, therefore they simply don’t understand. Above all, I’ve decided to be steadfast in the pursuit of my passions and not allow external parties to deter me.
What are some of the fears that you face even today?
Well I’ve started an online store with my art and sometimes I worry that no one will ever buy anything. Any other fears are in the past because I’ve made an active decision to trade fear for faith.
How do you deal with those fears?
Generally I pray, then take a couple steps back from the situation to look at the things objectively. Usually it’s just me being impatient and allowing myself to freak out when my long-term goals don’t match up to to present day – For instance: I just opened the store, i’m not famous, therefore it’s going to take some time for sales to come about.
How do you work? What is the method to your ‘madness’ and how do you filter your creativity?
It depends on what Art form I’m working on. For Fine Art (drawing, painting) and Poetry, I’m usually channelling some very strong emotion into it, like anger, deep sadness or overwhelming joy. For Graphic Design and Illustration I search the depths of the internet for images and inspiration until I find something that matches the vision in my head (sometimes the vision is there but I don’t know what it is until I see it). Then I sketch it on paper, scan it and develop all colour and structural details on Photoshop and Illustrator. This can take days – weeks, depending on the purpose and time restraint. Sometimes I’ll start a project and put it down for months or years because the initial burst of inspiration just sort of…..goes.
What role do you believe “the artist” has in society? / How do you feel your art form has the power to benefit society?
I think the artist’s role is to create visual representation of our thoughts, emotions, ideas and reality. A scientist will think it, but the artist will present it in a way that the world can engage with it. Therefore, in a way, I believe anyone who creates is an artist; God being the greatest artist of them all as He created the universe out of nothing.
When I consider what my art form can potentially do for society, I go back to the many purposes of art. For me, who doesn’t focus on any specific art form, my work has the potential to connect with people, give them something to smile at and beautify…To me that’s pretty powerful.
Out of all your work, which piece resonates the most with you?
Funny enough, my pieces don’t really resonate with me. The desire to create usually comes with an emotion of mine, however I paint/draw things completely outside of my situation. They do, however, resonate with others and I find that to be thrilling.
Where do you see yourself going?
I see myself improving my skills and phasing a successful online store. I also see myself encouraging and informing others in a big way (whether it be in a blog, a book, an organization or all three) about how to to use their artistic abilities.
By what terms do you measure success or perfection? When do you feel like you can say that your work is finished and ready to be experienced by others?
Wow this is a tough one. I’m extremely critical of my work…incredibly. I’ll start 10 drawings and only complete one because the rest got ‘messed up’ somewhere along the line. I’d say I feel like my work is finished when it’s finished…lol. To me, a successful piece is one that matches the original vision I had for it.
What elements of your career bring you the most stress?
Well I’m in digital marketing (primarily social media) so the most stressful element of my career is the clients…everything related to the client tends to be stressful because the pressure of representing there brand in the public space is insane. Work hours can feel endless and mistakes are very costly.
What is some advice that you would give to anyone who is trying to walk the same path as you?
Don’t stop doing what you love. If you can, try to make a career out of your passion. If not, set apart time each day to work on your art (be very strict about this time too) and build on those skills. This will not only bring you joy, it will help you build an impressive portfolio, which has the potential to increase your landscape of opportunities. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. Art is a skill developed through consistent practice and you’re gonna suck for a while before you get great. Just don’t discourage yourself from keeping at it.
“I think the artist’s role is to create visual representation of our thoughts, emotions, ideas and reality. A scientist will think it, but the artist will present it in a way that the world can engage with it. Therefore, in a way, I believe anyone who creates is an artist…”
~ Ashli Randall