Ashley Wingo shares her studio space at 21st Street Studios with three other artists, two of whom are also in the membership of the Ground Floor Gallery Contemporary.
Fellow artists and patrons of the arts may know Wingo for more than her artwork, including her role as the artist coordinator for both the Magic City Arts Connection and Moss Rock Arts Festival, two of the area’s biggest art festivals. She fell into the job when she met with Eileen Kunzman to talk about what art opportunities she might find around Birmingham. After her meeting with Kunzman, Wingo was asked if she would like to volunteer with Magic City and Moss Rock. Shortly after joining the team, the artist coordinator position opened up, and Wingo was hired into the position. She enjoys the connections it provides her with other area artists, and while the time leading up to the festivals is busy and hectic, the year-round part-time nature of the job allows Wingo the freedom to spend time in her studio creating.
It may seem obvious that Wingo would have come to visual arts, but for her the choice was not so evident a path to take. Wingo grew up surrounded by art, as her mother is an art teacher, and her mother’s side of the family is full of artists and people in the creative field.
Wingo, an Alabama native, went to Auburn University, where she got her BA in Art in 2011. When she first arrived, she thought she was going to focus on Graphic Design, but she soon found that the field was too limiting for her interests, and although she finds a strong interest in arranging objects and in the layout of her work, she found Graphic Design to be too technical and limiting for her interests. So she followed a more general study of art, exposing herself to as many processes and mediums as she could. She still hopes to further her knowledge by exploring silkscreen again melding it into some of her mixed media works. She also hoped to start exploring some three dimensional assemblage pieces after having discovered the art of Joseph Cornell.
One of her most influential professors during her time at Auburn University was Zdenko Kritic(http://www.zdenkokrtic.com/), who first introduced Wingo to encaustics. Encaustics show up regularly in Wingo’s work along with a rich and earthy pallet of colors. Wingo readily admits she jumps around from medium to medium in her work, working on wood surfaces, paper, and old silkscreens like a canvas. Working from whatever strikes her at the moment, she doesn't plan out themes in her pieces, but notices the emergence of patterns and themes in her art that come from her subconscious.
Wingo's studio practice is broken up by her job as the artist coordinator for the art festivals in town, allowing her to make art in small doses and not burnout from too much studio time. She finds not setting a rigid studio schedule removes the pressure of being a professional artist and keeps her work fresh and not forced.
Wingo joined the Ground Floor Contemporary Gallery membership as an artist member when she received an email that went out to the artists in the 21st Street Studios. She modestly says, “I was asked by default, because I have a studio here.” Besides being a member artist, she will be helping the gallery on the technical side of things by running email mailing lists.
You can see more of Ashley Wingo’s work on her personal website http://www.ashleywingo.com/