Local Artist Ashley Provencher
We absolutely love meeting local artists, and were excited to connect with painter Ashley Provencher recently. The beach is one of our favorite places, and Ashley’s scenes of water and sky are just beautiful. Born in Beverly and now living in Fort Point, Ashley has pieces hanging in several area hospitals, and her work can be found in Boston at L’Attitude Gallery and in Newport at Kristen Coates Gallery. See more from her on her website or instagram, and get to know her below!
Hi Ashley! You are obviously very inspired by the ocean. What is it about the water that makes it such an intriguing theme for you?
I’ve been by the ocean for as long as I can remember. When I was little my mom would bring me to the beach and we’d spend sunup to sundown there; always remembering to pack breakfast, lunch and dinner. Being near the water was one of the biggest parts of my childhood. I would stay in the ocean until every finger was pruned. There has never been a time where I’m at an ocean and I don’t at least put my feet in the water. In my eyes, the ocean is one of the most beautiful things this earth has to offer; it’s so mysterious and powerful but can also be so peaceful and serene. I want to share that beauty, my memories, and my feelings through my art.
Besides your home in Beverly, the city of New Orleans has been a big influence. What about the city has made it so special for you?
I spent the summer there post-graduation, working for Rustic Pathways helping to rebuild homes that were damaged during Hurricane Katrina. It was amazing to see how happy and positive the people of New Orleans were even through such devastation. It’s a very layered city, lots to unearth, which is where my thickness and layering of paint has really grown from. The colors and positive vibes spread throughout the city made me fall so in love with New Orleans. Every time you’re there it’s a good time. They celebrate life, love, food, culture, it’s my home away from home.
It is notoriously challenging to make a living as an artist. You have worked in a few different spheres, within the art world and outside of it. Describe your path a bit — any advice you would offer to someone hoping to be an artist?
After graduating from Montserrat College of Art, I needed to take a step back from painting. I took a job at an art gallery in Boston. It’s a very unique gallery that assists in finding artwork for hospitals and health centers all over New England. About 6 months into working at the gallery the owner asked me to bring in some of my artwork so she could take a look at it. At the time I hadn’t created anything new since college, and what I had available wasn’t something I had really considered showing to anyone. The next day I brought in a few of my paintings that I thought were somewhat representative of me as an “artist” and she loved them. That day we created a PowerPoint for a major project with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, which showed my artwork as an option for a wall in a waiting room area. In a week, we heard back and my pieces had been chosen to be installed there! It was one of the happiest days I’ve ever had.
After that I knew I wanted to get back into painting and actually pursue a career as an artist. After almost 4 years working at the gallery, learning and growing more and more in the art world and making lots of amazing connections, I took a little breather from the gallery. I now currently work as a business manager for a small chiropractors office which gives me a lot more flexibility to work on my artwork and make my dream of full-time artist become a reality! I still help out with major events the gallery puts on and other small projects, but I primarily focus on my art and dream!
Advice for others trying to get into the art world… be open to new things, believe in yourself, be brave! We live in a world where rejection is everywhere. I’ve been turned away from multiple opportunities and you just have to pick yourself up again and find new ones. I always say when one door closes another one opens, you just have to keep an eye out for it, and always be positive!
“To create one’s own world, in any of the arts, takes courage.” — GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
You now live in the Fort Point neighborhood, one of our faves! What are some of your favorite spots in Boston, and how would you spend a free day in the city?
This could be a very long list but I’ll try to keep it short!
The Museum of Fine Arts, the ICA and Fenway Park are some of my favorite spots, along with the Boston Harbor Walk. The Harbor Walk is nearby to my apartment, so we love going for walks along it to take in all the beautiful views of the ocean and city. It’s so cheesy but I still love a duck boat tour once in a while! It’s the perfect tourist activity.
If I had a free day in the city… I would start off by grabbing a vanilla latte and croissant at Caffe Nero (it’s right across the street from me and another one of my favorite spots), take a walk along the harbor walk and take in all the views. I’d then wander over to the North End and stop at Mike’s Pastries for a yummy treat, spend the afternoon on my roof deck painting (while maybe enjoying a glass of rosé!) and then end the night at Row 34 with an awesome seafood dinner!
Images courtesy of Ashley Provencher.