How This Artist Paid No Mind to Haters

I first saw Ashley Longshore’s paintings in 2015 at Kirna Zabête, a quirky, colorful boutique in my neighborhood filled with beautiful designer ready-to-wear, handbags, and shoes. I stopped right in my tracks as I saw a brilliantly depicted Anna Wintour frowning disparagingly at a group of crying children. Ashley’s bright, bold, expressive art reflects the culture of the elite and the tribulations that come along with it.

Growing up in the Deep South, she was expected to wear dresses to tea parties and grow up to be a trophy wife driving her kids to soccer practice in her Mercedes SUV. Instead, she followed her ambition (or as she calls it, “ambitchion”) that led her to a career as an incredible artist. Her paintings say to me that you can define success for yourself however you choose.

“Fear is a great catalyst for action, much better than revenge. When you confront your own fear, the world is at your fingertips. Sometimes the only one stopping you is yourself.” I absolutely love this statement. Ashley’s had her fair share of haters who didn’t think she was proper, pretty, skinny, popular, or talented enough to achieve her artistic ambitions. She remained persistent in her pursuits, blocked out the negativity and just painted. Now those elitist women whom her paintings depict - and at times mock - are her customers, who luckily are able to appreciate a good joke. 

Tonight I met Ashley at Bergdorf Goodman, and although I have essentially nothing in common with her Real Housewives-esque clientele, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how her outstanding works of art impacted so many people. She signed my copy of her book, You Don't Look Fat, You Look Crazy: "Nicole,  I love you." And even though she drops the F-bomb like, in every sentence, she says LOVE just as much.