Ashley Folkner shares the story of her beginnings as an artist and her hopes for her art career.
Ashley Folkner is a local artist who engages with Chattanooga and its creative community through her talent for transforming spaces with sculptures or paintings. Whether doing commissioned or personal projects, Ashley is committed to serving the city as a member of the community using her unique, stylized vision.
From a young age, Ashley was destined to pursue a career in the arts. Her childhood was spent “painting, making clay sculptures, and building forts” as she realized her creativity through various outlets. The forest around her home drew her in as a place to exercise her artistic expression through constantly “trying to alter [her] environment in some way.” This close connection with nature remained a source of artistic inspiration throughout her life.
“Painting, building, imagining how I could make it [her environment] different or put my touch on it has always been part of my make up,” Ashley said.
As an artist, she was driven to change her surroundings, nature has long been an inspiration for Ashley. The minute features in the way light reflects and shines on the water’s surface and the unique intricacy of trees and flowers were reflective of the detailed way she looked at the world. She has “always been fascinated with fungus, lichen, all different kinds of mushrooms” for their unique formations. While nature is a strong source of inspiration for her, she also pulls heavily from architecture and the shifting appearances that can be seen during day and night.
“Whatever I observe is fair game to be my inspiration,” Ashley said.
For Ashley, the first step involved in creating her art is always “visiting the space [she is] altering” so that she can brainstorm ideas and begin mentally building her creation. Each experience with her process is unique, but she “can always guarantee there will be lots of destruction before the creation is born.”
Ashley hopes, above all else, that her art will have a lasting, positive impact on Chattanooga and the art community within it. While her art installations and projects are beautifully crafted, the desired effect is that viewers “can transcend reality even if for a split second.” For Ashley, conveying a strong sense of safety, comfort, and serenity to the community is of the utmost importance. She feels welcomed and embraced by other artists in the community and hopes that she can take that embrace and share it through her art.
“I’m so thankful for all the talented people around me,” Ashley said. “All my friends and collaborators that have allowed me to make the work I have made and trusted me with their space and special life moments.”