We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashlyn Craig and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashlyn, how do you think about risk?
As an artist, and as someone who markets their art as a small business, a great majority of the ventures I pursue are risky. You can never be certain how the public will respond to your work, and when you are marketing something that is as personal as art, making decisions to put yourself out there can be terrifying. Investment of time, energy, money, and trust in yourself can be risky, especially when you are just beginning to market your work or start your business. Every action comes with heightened risk, because you have no way to set yourself up for healthy expectations for how you could or should be received. However, there is no payoff without investment. It is easy to shy away from risk because it is anxiety inducing. In my life and career I have made a conscious effort to make bold, sometimes risky decisions while reminding myself that I have what it takes to make risks pay off. This means saying yes to opportunities that arise, even when the outcomes seem hazy. For example, when people reach out to me to participate in things that could give me and my business exposure, I always make sure to pursue them and weigh the risks they present, and sometimes accept the riskier situation knowing it could help me grow as an artist. Whether these are makers markets, art shows, teaching classes, or interviews, I try to say yes to as many opportunities as possible. I have found that by doing this – by taking small risks – larger opportunities have always come from them.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am currently studying Visual Arts with an emphasis in Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking at Point Loma Nazarene University. I work in a variety mediums, however I mainly focus on linoleum printmaking, oil painting, colored pencil, and embroidery. Over the past few years, my art has explored the concept of beauty in mundane produce and plants that one comes in contact with on a daily basis. Many compositions feature a detailed, centralized, single subject against a less-refined background. Through this, I aim to shift the viewer’s perspective to take notice of there being beauty in small, mundane objects in front of them, not only large and grandiose feats of nature. I began selling my work online around 2 years ago and at makers markets last August, so I am still relatively new to the business aspect of the art world. However, in this short time I have been able to participate in a number of makers markets in the San Diego area, a show with RAW at the House of Blues, have my work sold in retail stores in Temecula and Carlsbad, and ran a solo show at one of the galleries on my university’s campus. I attribute my successes to the support I have received from family to pursue everything I do wholeheartedly. Along the way I have learned that my greatest asset as an artist is the ability to market myself. Not every experience has been great. There have been many slow nights where I have wondered if I am going to make back the cost of my space rental. However, I see every obstacle as a teaching experience. I recognize that this is just the beginning and I still have so much to learn, so taking a posture of learning and humility in every opportunity has allowed me to enjoy events for what they are: a great experience and an opportunity to put my name out into the community.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Some of my favorite (gluten free friendly!) breakfast spots in San Diego include Fig Tree Cafe in Liberty Station, Breakfast Republic, and The Trails Eatery. Some of my favorite free or low-cost things to do in the San Diego area include walks on Coronado, hitting up the free museums and common areas in Balboa Park, heading to Ocean Beach, checking out the Little Italy farmer’s market on Saturday morning, Seaport Village, the tide pools down by Sunset Cliffs, or the lighthouse out on the Point. For eateries I highly suggest Liberty Station’s Public Market, Taste of the Himalayas in Point Loma, STACKED or True Foods at Mission Valley, or just about anywhere in Little Italy. Pick up something sweet from Salt & Straw in Little Italy or The Elegant Truffle in Point Loma.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give credit to my incredible art professors at Point Loma Nazarene University for encouraging me to discover my art practice and for consistently pushing me to be the artist they know I can be.

Website: ashlyncraigart.com

Image Credits
Ricky Franklin (image 7)