An Interview with Ash Thorp
July 13, 2021
Have you always aspired to create art, or did you discover you’re calling later in life?
I have been a creative person ever since my first memory. Starting from my childhood, I would get completely lost inside of my own imaginary worlds and draw for hours. I was obsessed with comics and anime which then later included a fascination with feature films and directing. Art is something that I feel chose me early on rather than me choosing it, and I’ve never wavered from this path.
Did you study art as a student or are you self-taught?
I did attend college but I struggled with the confines of conformity in school and following instructions for the sake of achieving a particular grade. I am relentless in my own pursuit to continually grow at an exponential pace far beyond the standard curriculum. We are all given the same currency of time but it’s how we spend that time that determines everything. The need and determination to constantly do better and to never stop learning are the key elements to the trajectory of my career.
What artist or artists informed your development? And what artists do you look to now for inspiration?
This list is too vast to fit them all into a quick response as it varies by specialty and ranges anywhere from Katsuhiro Otomo to David Fincher. I love the writing of Paul Dini because he revolutionized how I looked at cartoons and wrote some of my favorite Batman stories. Mike Mignola has a style completely his own and his graphical language is beyond comparison. I tend to keep the same list of legendary muses as their work and talent is timeless.
What was a pivotal moment in the evolution of your work?
I firmly believe it’s important to try to advance and evolve my work daily rather than focusing just on the long-term goals. I never want to stay stagnant and always stress the importance of learning and growing continually. This creative desire for perpetual evolution and development can sometimes create a state of unease for artists, but that uncomfortableness is also where the growth lives and happens for me. To share a recent milestone, I made the musical score for this Evident Mirror series which is something I’ve never attempted on my own before. I am trying to double down on the belief and capabilities within me, and trust that anything I want to achieve is possible if I work hard enough for it.
Tell us about your process. Do you begin with an image or a concept?
My creative process varies by the project, but for most of my personal work, it often comes from a mediated thought or idea that I initially get while walking/riding/moving. I like to go deep into my mind and almost time travel around in the ether until I come upon a topic or visual that becomes the main catalyst muse for my next project. From there, I translate those visions onto paper in my sketchbook with very rough sketches adjoined with notes to remind myself later…similar to placing a bookmark in a book. I will also break down in writing all of the necessary steps it will take to go from the idea to the final result.
What informs your work? As a visual artist, are you inspired by music, film, science, literature or other art forms?
I have a deep curiosity about nearly every topic, so it all plays a part in my work. For instance, when I acquire a new skill, it can open up a pathway to create something utilizing that new skillset. When I watch film or documentary about a fascinating topic, it can be the muse for the subject of my next short film. Music will often help shape the mood of my projects and the tone in how it is showcased. Being inspired by so many topics can sometimes be overstimulating so the real difficulty is selecting only one to focus on completely.
What was the most challenging project that you worked on?
The majority of client projects can be intense due to the massive pressures of production and timelines being extremely tight. Years of having to work under great pressure though has really helped shape the way I approach my art and to utilize higher levels of thinking. It’s important to look beyond the minimum requested and be able to contribute more value on a project. All projects will come with their own set of unique challenges, but the knowledge I gain each time I overcome an obstacle is a new tool acquired and how I can further my craft.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
Artists have the pure freedom to inquire about anything and then create it. The ability to think of something in my mind, translate it into tangible form, and then share that unseen vision with a large audience is such a gift. The journey of creating something that started as one simple thought in my abstract mind is such a fascinating and rewarding process.
How do you think NFTs will change the future for artists?
I really hope NFTs provide artists with a sense of sovereignty and freedom to truly find their calling. It can help artists fund their own passion projects and creative pursuits and allow them to connect with others who support these same curiosities.
He firmly believes it’s important to never stop growing both professionally and personally; so in the late hours while some may be sleeping, he most assuredly will be working and learning.
“Stay Humble. Stay Curious” – Ash Thorp