Meet KISAcreative Ashley Barlow
Designer, Artist, Illustrator.
We've been a fan of this lovely lady for a long time, so we were so excited to play dress-up with her and delve deeper into her lifestyle and creative processes! This Minneapolis beauty oozes creativity and style. When not working at local agency, Knock, Ashley's work ranges from small business branding (yes, for KISA, too!), illustrations, or working on her personal body of abstract and collage work. She's sure to inspire. Read on darlings.
Tell us a bit about your art & your creating process.
My art tends to take shape in a few ways. Predominately, that's looked like collage work with an emphasis on vintage images mixed with very graphic/playful layers of colors and texture. In the last five months, I've gotten into watercolor quite a bit and really hope to start focusing on that more. I'm also trying to take more time to do abstract work with acrylic. A lot of my collage work starts out as an abstract painting and personally I am really drawn to abstract paintings. My art goes in seasons, even my collage work looks so different from how it was expressed three years ago. So, I think there's a new season of art making coming up for me this fall now that I've graduated from my program at MCAD and have time to focus on my art.
My process in art making is always exploratory. I try to have a lot of grace for myself in the studio, making a lot of mistakes, experimenting with different materials, methods, compositions. Every year I find I discover a few things that were successful in my process that stay in my tool belt and a few things that I stop doing because they don't feel true to my aesthetic anymore. It's constantly evolving. If it's collage art, I definitely have to spend a lot of time just finding the right images. If it's watercolor work, I just open my paints and start and see what happens.
If we played dress up in your closet, what would we find?
I love a minimal, low-maintenance look and am drawn to modern cuts and clean lines—a hint masculinity. I don't really layer too much. In terms of accessories, less is always more for me, I would rather wear a simple outfit paired with a statement piece of jewelry that's also minimal and geometric in nature.
Most of my closet is black, white, and gray with a few pops of red or blush. I'm not against color, I just don't personally feel as comfortable wearing it. I'd rather leave the color to my design and art! I tend to be drawn to pieces that can hold on their own, not needing the help of another piece to make sense or not being overly "special occasion". My hope is that almost all my clothes should be able to work with one another and in that way, I can have less stuff in my closet I'm not wearing or holding out to wear.
Do you ever have days when you wake up feeling uninspired? What do you do with this feeling?
Days? Not really. But moments, yes. When I'm uninspired, I go to the places that give me new creative energy and ideas. I have a lot of great books and magazines I'll riffle through, Pinterest, blogs, designspiration, Instagram (I try to follow a lot of illustrators, stylist, photographers, artist, etc.) I'll go on a run without headphones. Or, I'll just go to my studio and take out some tools and start playing around. It sounds cliche, but inspiration is everywhere, I just have to observe it and figure out what I can take from it to use on my own.
Speaking of inspiration, your instagram feed @ashleybarlowart holds daily inspiration for us. Who are your go to accounts for a creative infusion?
Instagram is a great place to discover artist, stylist, photographers, and see what they're creating on a daily basis. A few of my favs: @refinery29 @mikeperrystudio, @collagecollectiveco, and @t_rez.
We were so thrilled to see the Edina Art Fair pick you up for the fair's promotional materials this past summer! What was most fun for you about that experience?
The whole experience was pretty sweet. I grew up going to the fair with my dad and always visiting my grandma in the process (who lives on 50th and France). This summer grandma wasn't doing too hot, but she put a lot of effort in with her physical therapy and made it to my booth for a visit and a hug. That was pretty special. The whole fair is fun, everyone comes with good energy and most folks were very encouraging when they came to my booth, pointing out that they saw me on the news or that they bought my shirt. It definitely put a good smile on my face for the weekend.
What's one thing you often remind yourself of?
Great question, I guess it would depend on what I need to hear. Lately I've been trying to remind myself to try new things creatively, get weird, think outside the box. To create things I am proud of, to stand up for my creative opinions. Also, to not get lost in what other people are doing or saying, to try focus on the story I want to tell.
At this moment, what's your most favorite thing hanging in your closet?
Right now, I'm really loving one-piece outfits: jumpers, a black maxi-dress, or anything that's easy to toss on and that looks simple/minimal. My recent fav accessories to toss on top are the brass and copper standard necklace by Maslo Jewelry that I got at Parc. They are very minimal and geometric and go with everything. And always, my black jeans and a white shirt are my go-tos.
If you were handed a free plane voucher, where would you jet off to?
If I had to stay in the US, Portland—it's my favorite. The food, hiking, city, and I have family there. Internationally, I'd go to Spain in a heart beat. I've been dying to visit for a few years now. Soon I hope!
When you're not working in your studio, where might we spot you around Minneapolis?
I love to run or go to yoga. One of my favorite things to do is try out new places to eat. My recent fav place was Tiny Diner. I will definitely be going back—that burger set me free! I also had an amazing brunch at Heyday a few weeks ago that I still dream about.