Artist Ashley Longshore is an artist with a mission: to create meaningful, joyful art and, in doing so, to create a more beautiful world. It’s a tall order, but she is up for the task.
Some media have called Longshore a genius. Others have used the term “fashion darling.” Many of her fans and followers refer to her as a funny broad — a word meant to describe someone unfiltered, unafraid and daring. In this sense, it describes Longshore perfectly.
Brilliant, beautiful and bold are also words that accurately represent this creative force. Longshore is known for her large-scale canvases of famous faces: the Portrait Series includes icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Abraham Lincoln and Lil Wayne. Longshore embellishes these with bright colors and images of flowers, jewels and bling — lots and lots of bling. Her Trophy Series, which deals with money and status, is hugely popular with those who have money and still realize how ridiculous too much can be.
Originally from Birmingham, AL, Longshore was raised within the outdated Southern constraints that women must be ladies at all times: They must not swear, dress inappropriately or outshine their husbands. She has clearly abandoned all of these, and her messages often fly in the face of such rules.
“I don’t have time for any of that. I make my own success, buy myself whatever I want and answer to no one,” she says.
Based in New Orleans, LA, Longshore does pop-up galleries all across the country. She also recently had a solo exhibit at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, making her the first woman to do so. She has collaborated with other artists to create unique décor, such as a line of jewel-themed wallpaper with renowned company Flavor Paper. In the pipeline are collaborations with a jewelry designer, an international watch company, a high-profile restaurant and a mega popstar.
The self-taught artist has been featured in publications from around the world, including the New York Times and prominent fashion magazines. Her images have even appeared on billboards around Times Square. Through her success, she remains humble and enthusiastic about her journey. She’s also touched when her fans share how much she means to them: “I’m still excited and in awe when people want to write about me.”
In addition to being talented, Longshore is outspoken and hilarious, resulting in a huge social media following. Her Instagram garners many likes for her strange dance videos, satirical bird biographies and somewhat raunchy pictures. She pokes fun at herself regularly and calls out the “mean girls” of the world, who Longshore says rejected her for years before she found success. Rather than wallow in self-pity, she has turned her pain into fuel for success.
“We only have about 28,000 days on this earth. Why not make the most of them?”
An avid collector, Longshore is adamant about buying art from fellow artists. She also stresses the need to pay full market value. One of the things that sets Longshore apart from many other artists is her refusal to work with galleries that require her to hand over a huge percentage of the payment for art. The galleries that turned her away early in her career add to her sense of victory each time someone buys a painting.
“I remember working in a crappy little one-room studio and not being sure I could keep the lights on,” says Longshore. Her hustle and work ethic led her to running her own studio, where she makes all the profits.
In addition to her paintings, Longshore plays with scale via large props and oversized furniture. Her pieces still incorporate the tongue-in-cheek, joke’s-on-you playfulness, either through cheeky sayings or through their sheer size. Home décor pieces offered by this multi-talented artist include giant champagne corks, a massive string of pearls and a sassy sitting chair with a strong message.
Though her works may be pricey, Longshore provides an affordable option as well. By joining a special online group, members receive smaller, personal items from Longshore throughout the year. These items range from coasters to posters and more.
Longshore’s schedule is hectic, taking her to launches and meetings in multiple cities over the course of a single week. However, through it all, she still makes time for art. She often schedules time on her easel, whether in her studio or at a relaxed location near the ocean. This “time on [her] easel” is what rejuvenates Longshore and helps her focus on the joy painting and creating has brought to her life. In this sense, she has accomplished her mission. Photography by Ashley Longshore.