A CHAT WITH ARTIST
When looking at an Ashley Longshore original, it is safe to assume your reaction will be something along the lines of WOW! This New-Orleans based, mixed-media artist creates unapologetically vivacious paintings concentrated on pop culture, Hollywood glamour, and American consumerism. Iconic figures, classic patterns, and sassy phrases are layered to create bold, colorful, statement paintings and on-trend products full of confidence and pizazz. Incredibly accomplished, Longshore’s recent Bergdorf Goodman exhibit was the first solo show by a female artist in its 100+ year history, and last year, she teamed up with Diane von Furstenberg during International Women’s month by creating a curated group of paintings to celebrate extraordinary and inspiring women. With infectious personality, Longshore translates her zest for life into her work, leaving viewers feeling not only empowered, but happy!
Needless to say, we were thrilled when our iconic ZEBRAS motif appeared in the works of this standout artist. Playful renderings of the Scalamandré Zebras dance along the background of several portraits featuring famous individuals such as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President George Washington, as well as, hip hop artist Lil Wayne. Zestful colors saturate each canvas giving our famed motif, originally designed in 1945 by Flora Scalamandré herself, a modern-day POP!
Thank you to Ashley Longshore for your fresh perspective on our iconic ZEBRAS design! Follow along our Q&A with the renowned artist as we talk about the beginning of her career, her favorite Scalamandré designs, her approach to work during a global pandemic, and more!
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You have created an incredible body of work, platform and following. Where did it all begin for you?
It all began when I didn’t have two nickels to rub together and I had a STRONG desire for the American Dream. I didn’t want to depend on a gallery or a man, I wanted freedom… so I got my ass to work! I have been so grateful and enthusiastic for the opportunities I have had as an artist. I worked so hard, and I think I work harder now than I did 25 years ago. I am still so fired up about opportunities and experiences. There is so much I haven’t done…
What is a moment in your career you are most proud of?
I am most proud that people have been inspired to have creative careers because they have seen what I have done. I am also very proud that I have stayed true to myself. What you see is what you get… and that is my job as an artist, to be ME! I have also shared my grandest moments with my dad standing next to me ie. Bergdorf Goodman, Gucci, speaking on stage with Diane Von Furstenberg. Having my dad there means everything. We cry about it all the time… the good kind of cry, ya know?
Your aesthetic translates beautifully to objects for the home. What inspires your approach to design versus fine art?
It's a feeling. Creating a painting is a feeling and creating a fun product is also a feeling. I think it's about being connected to your intuition. I also only sell things that I would want myself! I find it so fun to design something that makes people feel happy… it’s a drug!
When did you first discover the Scalamandré Zebras, and what inspired you to incorporate them into your works such as the George Washington and Lil Wayne pieces?
I LOVE THESE ICONIC ZEBRAS!!!! I saw them in the NOVOGRATZ FAMILY’S LAST HOME PROJECT based in Los Angeles as well as in The Royal Tenenbaums movie, and LOVED them. THEY POP, they are iconic, thereby I had to paint them! They have this magnificent POP and also a neutrality. I have been on safari and it amazes me how camouflaged Zebras are in the tall grass… this paper works the same way, ITS MAGIC!
Why do you think our Scalamandré Zebras design has lasted through trends and remains so iconic?
The zebras have magic. I think the neutrality of the black and white combined with the POPS of color make it perfect for anything. It’s bougie, there is a sleek coolness to it, and it's also lux. It defines the person who decorates with it and it's chic as hell…
What emotions does our Scalamandré Zebras design evoke for you? Memories? Etc.
The zebras make me think of a time when I was working my tail off to have the money to buy the zebra paper. They have represented success to me. They represent beauty and style, and my LOVE for layering patterns…
What do you think makes any artwork/design/pattern iconic and timeless?
I think there is magic involved in creating something iconic. The artistry in your designs are so appealing, and you never know what is going to become iconic because that involves the public and their perception, but regardless good design is good design. There is a formula for good composition, for sure, but the spark of genius that flares itself in certain projects causes design zeitgeist… hence the ZEBRAS!!!!
Are there other Scalamandré designs you adore and could see yourself using in the future?
I ain't gonna lie, I LOVE the color and POP in your CHINOIS CHIC collection, It's happy and beautiful! I also LOVE GUERMANTES and COQUINA designs. There are SOOO many to choose from!!!! Your design rolodex is a treasure trove, Scalamandré rules me so hard! So many of your designs make me want to squeal with excitement. I think we should collab and do a fabric line together… just saying (hint hint)!
This unprecedented pandemic has changed the world and all of our plans for 2020. How have the past months of quarantine affected your work and process?
The quarantine has been really stressful and continues to be so. I have been running my company digitally, I have had so much anxiety and fear. It's been really horrible emotionally but I put it in high gear and switched up some plans to do some releases that would help my community. I was able to donate $160,000 back into New Orleans and help organizations that REALLY needed it, because of my clients. I have been painting on a new collection that combines beauty and nature. It's been very calming for me. When I started painting it was to find my calm and now I have gone back into that mode. I am feeling better every day now that I am painting again, I was very much stopped in my tracks for a minute. I think it's important to take it easy on yourself when there are this many emotions involved…