Ashley De Vor is a young and talented artist who hails from Phoenix, Arizona. She dabbles in a variety of artistic mediums to create art that is full of beautiful dark imagery. She describes her work as “a concoction of beauty mixed with horror and a few quirks from the artist.” Her mediums include oil, watercolor, graphite, and more recently ink on skin. We had a chance to get a glimpse into the creative mind of Ashley and learn more about her inspirations and creative process.
“ There’s not much thought when it comes to painting, but tattooing is a lot more clean, precise, and unforgiving —Ashley De Vor ”
Tell us about your artistic background. When did you first realize you had talent and from where did your love of this genre come?
My mother and sister both were always artistic influences growing up. My mom did collage art while my sister did illustration and film. I first took art seriously when I was eleven and stuck in my grandparent’s trailer in Bakersfield for a month in the summer. I was so bored that I just drew all of my favorite pictures from a fashion magazine. From then on I just stuck with it.
That’s interesting that art runs in the family. Because of your background, did you wind up taking any formal art classes? How important do you think they are in becoming an artist?
I’ve taken a few years worth of classes, but in all honesty I learned more in a two-day painting workshop with Kevin Llewellyn than I did in two years of college. College is good for teaching you new things you wouldn’t normally go for, but a workshop is so much better since you’re focusing on the exact style/type of work you’re wanting to do.
Can you recall the first piece of art you created and do you still have it?
One of my first paintings was a portrait of Orlando Bloom from Pirates of the Caribbean. It looked so awful! Pretty sure it’s crammed in a closet somewhere.
How would you best describe your style of artwork?
I would describe it as mixing creatures and women with anatomy, humanization, and ornamentation.
There is so much amazing dark imagery in your work and some repetitive themes, such as owls, skulls, and zombies, yet all used differently and creatively. Where do you draw inspiration from in your creative process?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my favorite artists such as Kevin Llewellyn, Nomi Chi, Gustav Klimt, and Lori Earley. I get a lot of ideas from music, tattooing, and going antiquing as well.
Speaking of music, how is your environment when you create your art? Do you prefer silence or do you listen to a particular style of music?
My studio has absolutely no wall space. I love being surrounded by antiques, paintings, photos, skulls, etc. Put me in an empty room and I won’t do a damn thing. Music is a must. I’ll go from listening to Die Antwoord to Metallica to Edith Piaf. I’m weird.
You mention in your bio that you that the female figure is a constant theme. I see Mosh in some of your works. Are there any other industry beauties that you have painted, drawn or used as inspiration?
I went through a big “alt model” phase, but I’m trying to stray away from it and use less known models. I’ve used Mosh, Julie Bolene, Kandy K, Megan Massacre, and Kristen Llewellyn.
Are there any art mediums that you would like to explore that you haven’t yet?
I just recently started using ink and Copic marker! I love the marker much more than watercolors since you have more control over it.
Some of your work is labeled tattoo. What is your connection with drawing art for tattoos? Do you create for flash art or individualized pieces for people?
I’m a tattoo apprentice right now at Lady Luck tattoo, so I do a lot of custom pieces for people. No flash, though.
That’s great! When did you become a tattoo apprentice? What drew you to that decision and how does the creative process differ from your usual mediums? Is there a particular style that you prefer to tattoo?
I started apprenticing last February; it’s something I’ve wanted to do for about seven years since I love the idea of having some one trust you with putting art on them for life. Learning how to tattoo is like becoming a flailing child again. It’s a completely different process with how you draw your designs and handle your materials. There’s not much thought when it comes to painting, but tattooing is a lot more clean, precise, and unforgiving; there are no erasers and you can’t wing it. The opera ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings. As for style, I’d like to go more towards the realism realm with an illustrative touch, for example bold lines, lots of colors, and realistic shading.
I know that many artists are self-critical and you have mentioned your “own lazy perfectionism,” but can you tell us if there are particular creations of yours of which you are most proud?
I actually am really happy with my more recent pieces. Some of those are “DOTD Fetal Skull,” “Pallas of Athene,” and “Gypsy Tattoo.”
You have done quite a few self-portraits. What is that process like? Are you creating a self-portrait on how you are feeling that day? How you see yourself or how others do? Can you share what thought goes into that?
I actually haven’t done one in a while! In all honesty I really don’t do self-portraits to reflect my emotions at the time. I use myself merely because I have a specific look in mind and it tends to be a hassle to get a model to shoot with for reference.
Do you have the chance to interact with the people who buy your artwork? If so, do they share how your work has affected them?
All the time! I like to make friends with everyone and usually wind up hearing most people’s life stories via email. I don’t believe in being the snobbish, greedy artist who doesn’t bother with the people who are paying their bills.
I am sure people appreciate that. Since you like to interact with your fans, what are your upcoming plans? Any conventions, exhibitions or books on which you are working?
Right now I have a gallery show in the works in downtown Phoenix, but I don’t have all of the info yet. I do a bit of modeling here and there, as well. Otherwise I’m just working, apprenticing, and planning on going back to school.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Every time I answer that question I hate what I pick! Ha! For now I’ll go with ‘awkward,’ ‘tomboyish,’ and ‘goddamnhilarious.’