Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Ashley Laskowski: Funnily enough, my mom and I were talking a week ago about the time I drew an image of a clown when I was three years old, so I guess I have technically been creating ever since then! I have been designing professionally since before I was out of college, back in 2009.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
When I first begin work on a new project, step number one is doing my own research and pulling images of patterns, textures, color palettes and other imagery I find inspiring into a "swipe folder" for that particular project. Sometimes it means carefully reviewing a client's inspiration images or moodboards to help get the creative juices flowing. From there I typically sketch out my ideas and rough concepts on paper and then either get out my paints or move over to my computer to start digitally creating the illustrations and designs that make up the body of my work.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
I absolutely love pouring over the works of other illustrators, typographers and stationery designers. I also spend a lot of time walking through stores with interesting packaging design on their products. Anthropologie is a favorite because all of their packaging is absolutely stunning and I feel like it is a great place to see interesting patterning, textures and typography coming together all in one place.
Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
I feel most in my element doing illustrative work that has to do with nature - I do a ton of floral illustrations and landscapes in my day-to-day job at Greenvelope and it is such a blast. I love the way working on an illustration of a place almost makes you feel like you got to visit it for that short period while you were working on that piece.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I have a lot of favorite pieces, but the piece that stands out most in my mind was the work I did on the Spire Mountain Ciders packaging. I crafted the entire packaging, top to bottom, and it was super detailed work that ended up being a major undertaking. I also loved how whimsical the subject matter was (gnomes living in a magical orchard on a magical mountain)! This project is sort of my baby.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I have been drawing and doodling basically my entire life, but for the longest time I didn't really know what to do with that professionally. I ended up going school for marketing initially, and in my final capstone class we had to design an entire film campaign, including all the creative. I got so absorbed in the process of creating cool posters and ads and cover artwork for the film that by the time the class ended I had finally found something I loved to do. I started making digital illustration in my free time for fun (and to help me learn the tools and programs needed to do graphic design work). Funnily enough, I ended up going from marketing, to graphic design, back to illustration, so I am essentially doing the grown up version of what I was doing when I was three years old.
If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I am currently in the process of setting up a brand new website that is focused specifically on my illustrative work, but in the meantime you can check out my work on my current website (www.ashleylaskowski.com) or on my Instagram @ashkowski where you will also get to see photos of dogs and pink wine.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I am working on a very cool project doing patterning for sportswear right now, which is awesome because I've always wanted to try my hand at textile design. Other than that, getting my new website and design company up and running is my primary focus!
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I had the most amazing teeny tiny cappuccino in Italy a few months back, and learning to recreate it at home is my current obsession.