Name: Ashley Lukashevsky
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Artistic Medium of Choice: Illustrations
Instagram handle: @ashlukadraws
Please tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am a LA-based artist and graphic designer. I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii by my mom, an immigrant from Taegu, South Korea, and my dad, a liberal white hippie from California. I grew up doodling all of the time. Truly all of the time. When I was a kid, my mom would get mad at me for drawing on the toilet for too long. I originally moved here to study International Relations, and thought that I would work for an NGO. I never dreamed of creating art for a living. I am addicted to noodles (ramen, pho, jiajiangmien, naengmyun, you name it) and don’t know how to ride a bike.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you had to do?
When I was younger, I would get into these zones where I would shut myself into my room and just draw or paint for hours. I would completely lose track of time and be consumed by it. I forgot that feeling after years of focusing on school and then work. In the past year, I started to dabble in illustrating for my personal stress release. I was so frustrated about this presidency– an administration that gave credence to systemic injustice and racism and misogyny– and I started to just spill that out on paper. When I’m drawing, that anger subsides into a meditative state.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I am trying to communicate two things with my art. One: complacency is unacceptable. I went to a very insular university in LA, and I’ve often been surrounded by people who are cocooned by their privilege. I want my art to make people think about the man-made structures that inform their understanding of the world, and think about breaking them down. Two: Hope. I want my art to give those who are fighting for justice to feel hopeful. There are so many of us! We can’t let them take our hope away.
What role does the artist have in society?
I believe that artists have the responsibility to amplify the truth: voices of those marginalized by mainstream media, current events, their emotions. They shape the visual landscape and have the power to introduce new concepts to the viewer in a way that written word may not be able to.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
I am constantly bookmarking posts on Instagram. I refer to them whenever I need help dressing the womyn I am drawing, deciding on color palettes, or thinking of a new topic to illustrate.
How has the country’s current state inspired your work?
I would say that the country’s current state is what made me start creating again.
What do you think are some of the most inspiring things happening currently?
The art coming out of activism has been really touching. Following artists like Josh MacPhee (@jmacphee), Jess X Snow (@jessxsnow) , Melanie Cervantes (@melaniecervantes), Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (@tlynnfaz) to name a few, has been such an incredible feeling.
What has been your most touching moment you’ve experienced as an artist?
When people who are in the communities that I am trying to amplify contact me and tell me that I have made them feel loved, it makes everything worth it.
What are you currently listening to and/or reading?
I am currently reading Homefire by Kamila Shamsie and listening to Nancy by WYNC. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Toro y Moi, SZA (but who isn’t right now…) and Run the Jewels.
What are some of your self-care tips during these trying times?
Take deep breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Do yoga, dance, or however you like to move your beautiful body. Eat noodles with people you love. Binge-watch Insecure if you haven’t yet. Give to organizations who are working with communities affected by this administration’s bigotry. It feels productive to know that even if you are hurting, you are contributing.