Ashley Mary | Ashley Mary Art

Ashley Mary Art

Ashley Mary

Ashley Mary Art



Ashley is a freelance artist, designer, illustrator, and prop-stylist. Her own branded work focuses on abstract paintings and small hand-made goods, product design and collaborations. She does client work as well focuses on illustration and design. Her style is typically bright, colorful, playful, and a mix between bold graphics and more organix forms/textures.


What inspired you to start your business?

It is sort of a snowball story. I ungracefully fell into owning my own business, nothing I ever had eyes set on until my mid-20s. The more I painted and shared my work, the more opportunities I came across to do creative work. I eventually went back to MCAD to dive into graphic design and get some more practical tools and that was where my artwork was really able to expand into other spaces and platforms. As an artist with a design background, I think I see spaces, concepts, and product design with two lenses that work hand in hand. I also am big goals-nerd (New Years Day is like Christmas morning to me) and a list maker, which means I have a laundry list of things I want to make and do. That’s my business plan, just cross as many things off that list as possible and then add some more.


What did you want to be when you were a child?

The sky was really the limit for tiny Ashley. An actress in Broadway, a DJ, a vet. I wasn’t very focused clearly but more aspirational.


How and where do you see growth for your business?

I’d love to work larger scale in spaces more. I’d love to create dimensionally. Product design is something I think I’ll always pursue as an opportunity but I’m interested in seeing ways my style of work can expand beyond a canvas but still remain in the art world.


If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a business, what would it be?

Invite other experts in to help you do the things you’re not best at. Ask for help!


Three words to describe your company’s vibe.

Playful, colorful, easy-going.


What is the favorite thing about your workspace?

The big windows! And this storage locker I got at a thrift store that hides all my ugly necessities like packing corners, dried up snacks, and glue guns.


What’s on your studio playlist?

Buena Vista Social Club.


What is your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?

I always think going to a museum or traveling is pretty great for breaking a rut. Nothing makes me want to paint more than seeing what other people have made.


What’s the first thing you do in the morning to start your day off on the right foot?

If it’s summer, ideally I’d go on a run! I mostly just roll out of bed and start work right away. Not a cool answer or a cool routine.


What tool, object or ritual could you not live without in your workday?

My laptop and palette knife.


If you could open a satellite office anywhere, where would it be?

Maybe Palm Springs? I’ve never even been but I have a feeling I’d love it and I think my art makes sense for a warm climate. Or Paris?! Or Australia?


One thing you wish you had in your office/studio…

A giant-ass scanner and printer.


If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I love interior design and furniture design...maybe something in that area?


What do you think is the best kept secret in business tools or resources?

Mmm, I don’t know if anything hasn’t been discovered already but my accountant at Fox Tax has changed my life. As a freelancer, there are countless things you can keep track of and write off and they’ve helped me financially. So get a good accountant that knows the freelance/artist world.


What is the biggest challenge facing small businesses?

As a creative I think it can be easy for to see trends happening like wildfire and ideas get recycled quickly. It’s hard to stay original and keep your style perspective heard/seen.  I see a lot of copying out there and sometimes that just happens subconsciously, I get it! How to give and receive credit. I see big companies stealing smaller maker’s concepts with no pay. It’s a tricky world with intellectual property. Also just being able to afford bills, business expenses, retirement, AND life! Budgeting is a bitch. Being self-employed does not offer a lot of financial benefits when it comes to filing taxes.


If you could be a fly on the wall of anyone’s studio/shop whose would it be?

Wayne White while he was creating Pee Wee’s Playhouse set.


Advice to your 2018 self.

Slow down mama!


Dream collaboration.

I’d love to paint the inside of a restaurant or design inside of an entire building in bright bold designs. I have a heart for kid’s goods so some sort of partnership in that realm would be magical.


Trend you love:

Pink and red combined.


Trend you are over:

Instagram post of coffee drinks.


Last show you binge watched:

Black Mirror


Last book read:

Currently listening to The Idiot by Elif Batuman and reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


What’s your favorite word? 



What item in your closet do you wear the most?

My paint pants.


Three things about you that would surprise us.

  • I have only taken one painting class in my life and hated it. I once painted a blender using only yellows. Ugh.

  • I studied religion as a my undergrad which led to studying in both Rome and India.

  • I drink gas station coffee most days that I do drink coffee. can’t beat a $1.06!


Favorite place to meet/collaborate in the Twin Cities.

I hang in NE a lot since my studio and home are there. Norseman Distillery or Tattersall Distilling.


Favorite place to go outside of the Twin Cities.

Portland, my brother and niece are there and I love tromping through the forest


Instagram accounts you love to see in your feed.