Posting Date: July 28, 2010

Meet Ashley Mitchell: Coloring outside the lines

By Rochelle S. Wilson

Ashley Mitchell

Photo by Melissa Withers

Ashley Mitchell's "Subducky" won 1st place in ceramics in the 26th Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition

Photo by Shea Trenbeath

Ashley Mitchell is a dreamer. “I’m constantly making up stories in my head, and I can’t get away from that. It could be a bug on a leaf, it could be a blade of grass, and I can make up a story for that. And as long as the story is in my head, I can draw it out on paper,” she says.

Her passion for art started at a young age. She wrote stories and found she needed pictures for them. “I thought I would draw them instead of coloring other people’s pictures,” says Ashley. “I guess my art came out of wanting to be independent and not have to color in the lines.” This independence shows itself in Ashley’s current art, where she creates combinations of traditional watercolor and photography. She has also continued with her love of children’s books, even creating and illustrating a children’s book for her senior exhibition. “People really liked it, and I can’t believe they actually read it,” she says. “It was really touching.”

High school is when Ashley’s art really took off. One of her art teachers at Pope High School encouraged her to join his class. “I said, ‘Art is not practical, so I’m not sure I want to be in your art class,’” says Ashley. "I finally decided to do it. Then I went to college and I became a math major. But a friend convinced me, saying, ‘You’re passionate about art. You have one life to live; you might as well go full out and do what you want to do.'" Ashley, now a senior art education major at Kennesaw State University, is graduating in December. “I really love it here at KSU,” she says. “The teachers are easy to talk to, and they take their time and make sure you understand the information. If you need to ask questions, they’re available.”

But Ashley's love of art extends beyond the campus. Faith, according to her,is an integral component of both her life and her art. Every year, she creates an illustration of an inspirational Bible verse to be shown at the Praise Gallery at Still Waters Church in Atlanta. “Faith is such a strong part of what I do,” she says. "God means so much to me, and I try to incorporate Him into everything I do,” she explains.

Ashley plans to become a middle school art teacher and pursue a masters degree. “I really like being an art education major.” She understands the importance of art in education because she has experienced it herself. “For me, art has helped me so much to understand concepts. I remember when I was in math class and throughout all my notes there were doodles. It could be a little alien carrying a number, or anything—but those little triggers would help me remember how to do things."

In the future, Ashley hopes to impact the world through both her art and teaching. "As long as you're yourself and you're creative, that's all that really matters," she says. "Because from there, you can do whatever you want. You can go anywhere. There are so many possibilities and opportunities. I hope that people will be inspired by my art and books to imagine and do and not to limit themselves."


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