Introducing Ashleigh Abbott • Glam Adelaide

Introducing Ashleigh Abbott

Young artist and graphic designer Ashleigh Abbott is a true romantic. With an unabashed love of all things colour, nature, life and well, love, it’s not surprising her first major solo exhibition is dubbed The Story, Love Birds: Part 001. Taking cues from ‘the old fashion romance and messages of love’, The Story features crisp, colourful and strikingly modern interpretations of birds through a colourful kaleidoscope of conceptual yet accessible art forms. Like the birds she depicts, Abbott’s work embodies the quintessence of joy and elation. Ahead of her exhibition, Ashleigh spoke with Glam about all things art, Adelaide and ornithology.

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Young artist and graphic designer Ashleigh Abbott is a true romantic. With an unabashed love of all things colour, nature, life and well, love, it’s not surprising her first major solo exhibition is dubbed The Story, Love Birds: Part 001. Taking cues from ‘the old fashion romance and messages of love’, The Story features crisp, colourful and strikingly modern interpretations of birds through a kaleidoscope of conceptual yet accessible art forms. Like the birds she depicts, Abbott’s work embodies the quintessence of joy and elation. Ahead of her exhibition, Ashleigh spoke with Glam about all things art, Adelaide and ornithology.

GB: How long have you been doing graphic design for?

AA: I studied Visual Communications and completed my Graduate Diploma in Illustration/Graphic Design all at the University of South Australia. After university, I worked at a Design Studio in Norwood prior to Mitousa Creative (based in North Adelaide on Melbourne Street) who offered me a fantastic position which I couldn’t refuse, considering I'd greatly admired this design studio from a very young age. Recently, with the support of my Artistic Director at Mitousa Creative, I’ve started working one day a week for myself, focusing on my personal illustrations and creative energy. It’s allowed me to take action and develop all my creative thoughts and ideas. I want to get more involved in the art community and share my creative energy. I’m only 24 years old and have really only been working professionally in the graphic design industry for just over a year, as I travelled for a couple of months after university.

GB: What inspires you?

AA: I'm inspired by life's simple pleasures – colour and love, which I find every day in the environment and the beautiful people around me. I wish I could create things all day long! I look at the world as if through a kaleidoscope, and reassemble the colourful pieces I see and feel, into creations that celebrate happiness, connection and new possibilities; my own emotions and my own little happy world that brings me joy.

This exhibition is a series created to reflect upon, celebrate and share the exhilarating power of love every day, telling a story of endearing emotions in both friendship and old fashion romance. My designs explore the things that I have cherished about love in the past and what I dream love to be in the future. A visual exploration of the spark, excitement and promise of new relationships, the strength and compassion of relationships of the present and the fond memory of past love. I want people to be kinder, to celebrate love and make sure their lives are full of care and sweet times everyday – why not! It's amazing!

I also love going vintage shopping. In my travels, I’ve found amazing little love poems, a lasting tribute to old fashion romance. I feel like endearing romance should be celebrated in today's society as it is in this poetry. I wish for today's society to express love with pride and clarity. Sharing love makes people feel great, happy and energized. I hope that this is shared with all those who come into contact with this series. I was born with a creative heart, soul and mind, creating in any form is my passion. I love my geometric series and style however I have a range of other styles that I love just as much. I love using pencils, paints, found objects and other mediums. Following this exhibition, I plan to showcase many other ideas and creative stories and see what inspires me along the way.

GB: Describe your design process.

AA: I simply just love playing with colour and bold geometric shapes. I’m content, happy and relaxed after a long day at work to take a simple, coloured circle and cut it up to form something beautiful. I look at things as if through a kaleidoscope – I love to reassemble forms and colour into creations that celebrate happiness, fun, love, connection and new possibilities. I don’t force designs to come and this series in particular has just been created in my own time as a form of relaxation and documenting my thoughts. It’s strange… it’s almost like a natural instinct. I’m not sure how I come up with them, it just happens. Cutting pasting, flipping repeating; a character is formed and a story is told.

GB: How much does it mean to have your debut solo exhibition come to fruition?

AA: I am so excited to be having my solo exhibition. I have always dreamt to have my own exhibition. I just had no confidence to do it! Mitousa Creative and Windmill Theatre Company have given me confidence and the support from my family to follow my dreams has helped me just go for it! I have enjoyed the process just so much, I love exhibiting and I hope to have many in the future. I have exhibited in joint exhibitions; however I’m so excited to transform Magazine Gallery into a special space that is bursting with my style and so much colour and joy.

The setting at Magazine Gallery is perfect for my illustrations. I would say my greatest achievement to date, is the fact that I am doing this exhibition and what I love to do. I have now gained confidence to do what I am truly passionate about and I am so excited to be living a creative and meaningful life. This exhibition is also one of my greatest achievements and I am looking forward to exploring, how I can take a typical exhibition to new levels of creativity!! I am looking forward to achieving bigger and even more exciting things as I learn and grow.

GB: Why birds?

AA: [laughs] I ask that question to myself also, I’m not sure why I just love drawing them and watching them and their playful antics. I find them peaceful, free and happy. They seem to have so much fun! They’re beautiful and colourful. They bring joy and have a gentleness that I love. I try move away from them but I’m always coming back to illustrating birds!

GB: What inspired the geometric design and the brash and fun use of colour in your recent works?

AA: It’s really just what I love and what I am obsessed with! Nothing inspired me as such other than my love for colour and clean lines.

GB: After the exhibition, what's next for you?

AA: Lots! I am already planning my next exhibition! I also plan to bring my other illustration styles to the gallery along with focusing on my own side projects under “Ashleigh Abbott – {the creative Collective}", which is a collaboration of my creative skills, ideas and unique thinking. The Creative Collective has emerged from my passion for art and beautiful design along with my desire to bring creative joy and imagination to every day life. “Ashleigh Abbott – {The Creative Collective} " Offers a full range of creative services to the increasing design conscious community including illustration, graphic design, visual art and styling for events or the home. I love to extend my unique style to so many different applications, always to create something visually stunning and from the heart. I just love creating and that’s what I will be doing!

Ashleigh Abbott's exhibition, The Story, Love Birds: Part 001 opens tonight, Friday August 10 from 6-9pm at Magazine Gallery, 83a Hindley Street (Clubhouse Lane), and will be showing from August 10 through September 21.

Visit www.ashleighabott.wordpress.com for more information and samples of work by Ashleigh Abbott

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