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"Inspire and Empower" - Featured Artist - Ashley Chew

Art speaks volumes. Throughout historical antiquity, it has been used as a means of highlighting the highs and lows of the human race. Whether its oppression, inhumane activities, political stands, rebellion from the people or unified human victories, art captures it all. It possesses the beauty and intricacy of portraying the ugly and evil of our world in a mesmerizing way. It shows human suffering, capability, hopes and lost dreams. While celebrating the joy of life, art doesn’t shy away from showing the loss of life, the loss of will, the anger and sadness of people who have been shunned away for way too long.

Artists bring out these deep felt emotions and feelings of centuries of pain, frustration, rage and oppression. They dig out what our world tries to bury and show the splendor and malice of it all.

Ashley Chew is an African American artist living in the States. She specializes in art forms like painting, illustration and silkscreen. The Black Lives Matter movement holds a dear place in her heart and she represents this in her artwork with great pride. With the tense, uneasy and tragic environment right now, taking place in the US, it is very important thing for artists to bring out and portray these topics that make people uncomfortable or hesitant to talk about. The flair of art reflects on the life and suppression that has been taking place since ages. It is an eye opener for many to learn more and recognize their privileges and biases. At the same time it is a striking platform for the upheaval and encouragement of the culture and its people. The Black Lives Matter has been highlighting black artists, curators and galleries. She believes that this shouldn’t be a trend of the moment, but a lifetime of support and dedication.

Women of color, face a whole other dimension of discrimination and silencing that even other women don’t. There is a sort of hierarchy that has been created there too to trample them down. Her art work aims to support these women of color. Black women account for 4% of galleries worldwide. For years her work has reflected, supported and depicted women of color. Her main aim is to help raise that 4% in galleries. Her emphasis is on the fact that they have stories to tell too, stories that have been concealed for way too long.

Childhood is the prime age for one’s talent and skills to settle in and start flourishing. It is an age of holistic and creative development. It’s the time to find a passion and discover yourself. Ashley’s career developed as a child and she has always been an artist. From grade school to college, every year she took Fine Arts classes. A life without creating seems unimaginable to her since it is the raw expression of her soul.

Art, in general, is often considered to be a path of passion and not that one of a career or earnings. It is assumed that it is an activity taken up for leisure or hobbies. She clearly proves this wrong as she prides in the fact that she has managed to sustain a career as an artist and is thriving in it. There are often doubts that artists cannot find work, make a living or that it’s just “for fun”. This couldn’t be more incorrect and her pieces reflect the hard work and success that she has put in and accomplished.

Keeping yourself busy and occupied during this global pandemic is a means of keeping yourself sane. During this time, she has taken the time to brush up her technical skills such as website, exhibition submissions, digital classes and overall networking. These are refreshing and deeply useful skills that guarantee a lot of triumph in these virtual times.

Her inspiring and unique message to other artists out there, who might just be starting off or are in the initial stages of their career, is to keep doing their work. Somebody out there is seeing it. Appreciation and acknowledgement go hand in hand and boost the morale of any individual. Knowing this within you will result in contentment and motivation to keep going on.

Art does both; It builds a person and builds a superficial and materialistic world for them too. In her view art is very important for a student as art is therapeutic, art speaks and art records time. It is an ode to your past self, an appreciation of your present self and a message to your future self.

Her greatest inspiration is Pharrell Williams. Although he is a musician and creates art with sound, it’s his mind that sparks wonders. The way he operates and manages is a marvel in itself. He is a huge art collector and publishes artist in his books. This has introduced her to many modern artists.

She doesn’t believe that she can choose a favorite artist or an idol since it is like picking a child. Each one of them has something unique and special to offer. Each one of them holds a special place in your heart and exhibits a different sort of radiance. Ashley’s work left us all in amazement and shock, since she embraces everything about herself and shows it in the boldest yet subtle light. Her work has purpose and meaning behind it and uplifts those who have been crushed by the evil of our world.

We at ARTOZE encourage and highly appreciate such actions where artists come forward to stand along with the other fellow community members to share their experiences, views and knowledge through "Inspire and Empower", a series By the Artists, For the Artists in association with ARTOZE Gallery and Exhibitions.

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