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A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.Fridays in Morning Edition at 7:50am and at 4:20pm during All Things Considered.

Art Beat: Art In Bloom

Christopher Deau Photography

The journey artist Ashley Carlson has chosen to travel is lined by flowers. Blossoms of every kind are a frequent topic of her art. 

A graphic artist by day, Carlson continues her journey into the off-business hours creating prints, paintings, calendars, and ornaments. It is a journey of joy and self-discovery, intensifying over the pandemic, when Carlson found herself more isolated at her home, her only outings taking her out into nature. Her inspiration from the natural world then made it onto canvas.

An interview with Ashley Carlson.

“’Journey of an Artist’ became my mantra,” Carlson says. “I wanted a way to connect all my artwork together because I felt like I was always evolving as an artist—even at age 7. My mom took me to an exhibition by Renoir. I was just blown away that you could do [art] as a profession. It kind of became a love affair from there.”

Carlson studied graphic design and advertising, managing artwork for various big brands. On her own time, however, she devotes her passion to painting, printmaking, creating calendars and ornaments.

“These last few years I’ve turned that into my side hustle, if you will, and showing as much as I possibly can,” Carlson says.

A frequent topic of Carlson’s art, including her 2022 calendar, is floral.

Credit Christopher Deau Photography
An example of Ashley Colson's art

“I think it all stems from that 7-year-old version of me,” Carlson says. “I used to take painting classes with my mom, and I always painted flowers. Fields and wooded areas and growing up in the country, that was my playground. As I got older—flowers are a theme in a lot of people’s lives, whether it’s weddings, funerals, those big occasions, flowers are always tucked in the corner to be a beautiful, feeling piece of that journey.”

Find Ashley Carlson’s work, along with the work of many other Michigan artists and vendors, on Sunday, December 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at The Bellflower at 4700 West D Avenue.

Zinta Aistars is our resident book expert. She started interviewing authors and artists for our Arts & More program in 2011.
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