When did you decide to become an artist? What struggles did you encounter along the way? Tell us about a piece that is especially important to you.
I have always wanted to become an artist for as long as I can remember. But to be honest, the real decision took place two years into college when I was first introduced to the amount of dedication it would take to make that happen. It’s hard work to be an artist! But that’s what makes it that much more fulfilling. One of my pieces that is especially important to me is called Disparate. I wanted to illustrate the concept that sometimes having a different gravitational pull means we have a greater purpose than just fitting in. I know many teenagers struggle with this (I know I did), and it helps to recognize that trying to fit in often keeps you from recognizing your unique qualities and potential that can offer the world so much.
Which artists are you inspired by?
There are so many! It’s hard to narrow it down. I love some of the old masters like Michelangelo, the figurative sketches of Da Vinci, and Giotto. Some more recent artists include Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth, David Merriam, James Christiansen, Amanda Sartor, and Bill Carmen.
Tell us a little about your process for creating art.
My process includes quite a few steps, which means a lot of waiting time. I start with adhering watercolor paper down to some kind of board, often Masonite. I then apply texture in areas with gesso, which is followed by a detailed line drawing in prismacolor. Then will come layers of acrylic transparent washes that slowly turn to opaques as I lay in my values. Finishing touches are painted with oil paint and then gold or foil leafing is laid in. This is a general explanation of my process, but I will sometimes add in other mediums and techniques depending on the piece.
What questions do you hope people ask themselves as they look at your art?
The concept behind my work is to help bring to light certain emotional tendencies we all experience, many of which are essential and yet debilitating. My hope is that viewers can find understanding, and also begin to ask the question of how they can begin feeling and expressing emotion in a healthy way so that life can continue to progress without hesitation and discomfort. It’s often our resistance in and to life that keeps us from living it.
What’s your advice on how to interact with and appreciate art?
There is no specific experience one needs to have when interacting with and appreciating art. My advice is to let go of any preconceived ideas of what should be felt and simply allow yourself to notice how you feel as you view the artwork. Art is about having an experience, and forcing that in any specific direction might prevent you from getting the most out of it.
What advice do you have for people who are just getting started as artists?
Being an artist takes perpetual work, and progress comes from the humility of understanding you are never done learning. Dedication to that learning will take you far, fast. Don’t be afraid to seek out training from professional artists or institutions. Almost all self-taught artists miss out on those essential breakthroughs that arise from the support and constructive criticism from peers and teachers. Also, remember that you are your biggest supporter. Self-criticism is, in my experience, by far the biggest stunter of growth. Recognize your potential, understand that you are learning and congratulate yourself in your achievements. Lastly, value yourself. As you become more skilled, make sure you continue to hold yourself to the level of your work as both you and it progresses. Being willing to say no to clients that don’t value your worth and projects that don’t represent your talents will open you up to opportunities that are much more worthy of your time.
“Realizations of Reverie” is an art exhibit by Ascha Lorisa currently on display in the Orem Public Library. See it before it comes down on Friday, May 27.