TAMPA, Fla. – Lifelong artist Ashley Cassens took a big leap three years ago, by turning her art into a full-time business. She didn’t experience a light bulb moment. Instead, the art teacher decided to take some business entrepreneur classes.
“That mentorship really opened up things for me,” Cassens said.
She specializes in figurative work, specifically anything that involves bodies. She loves the challenge.
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“It’s really hard to get a likeness. I mean, if you’re off by like a quarter of an inch or if the color is not right, it reads totally wrong,” Cassens said.
She paints portraits with oils. It’s a long process, but one that Cassens enjoys.
“When it becomes more like I’m lost in the little moments of paint, it’s like everything turns off in my head, like I’m able to be in a flow,” she said. “I feel like it’s really similar to what athletes describe as like being in like the zone.”
Since 2021, one of Cassens’ most prominent collections is called “Eye Traps.” It’s described as “a celebration of women, which marries traditional oil painting, patterned fabrics and fresh color.”
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Two of the pieces from the collection can now be found on canvases at HomeGoods.
“It was wild,” she laughingly said. “A lot of fist pumping and air punching.”
Cassens added another revenue stream after learning from a different education source, an art podcast. The subject of the podcasts: Making money as a muralist.
“I was listening to it for several months and was like ‘I think I can do this’,” she said.
Cassens joined the professional service app Thumbtack, and she’s been busy making murals ever since.
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“How are they different? Murals are very physical. I feel like you don’t realize that until you start doing them because I’m up and down the ladder, I’m moving things around,” she said.
The difference between the two different mediums is a welcome one. Cassens said the physical work of murals is perfect for when she needs a mental break from portraits and vice versa. Either way, she stays busy.
For more information, visit www.ashleycassens.com.