UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH ASHTON SHAW DESPOT

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Name: Ashton Shaw Despot

Hometown: Born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana.

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Favorite Restaurant: I currently live in New Orleans and would recommend Jacques-Imo’s as my favorite local restaurant. The atmosphere is casual and eclectic with delicious southern style cuisine.

Best place to travel: My favorite place I have traveled to is Ireland. I studied for a month at the Burren College of Art and Design and loved every second of it. It was absolutely magical.

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Favorite Cocktail: Martini with extra olives.

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Collectable Item: I collect pretty coffee table books. I absolutely love pictures and vibrant colors.

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What is your favorite item to cook? What is the recipe for it? My favorite thing to cook is spaghetti and meatballs. I have an amazing recipe for real Italian meatballs that’s to die for. I am not sharing my secret recipe though.

Favorite Book: My favorite book is the Harry Potter series. I just love the fantasy and whimsy.

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Most influential person in your artistic career: Michael Crespo, a college professor and most talented artist himself was the most influential person in my artistic career. He taught me to not be afraid, push the limits, and always be curious. He was also extremely kind and taught me now to love the process and love the life we live.

Favorite quote: “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart” -Confucius

Studio Location: My studio is located in Uptown New Orleans, 4524 Magazine Street. I have door on Magazine Street that leads to a charming studio upstairs. My favorite part of the studio is the two front windows, which let in natural northern light.

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Object or thing people ask about when they visit your studio : People usually ask about my hanging system when they walk into my studio, or I tell them about it as we are talking because I am so very proud of it. Carl Dautreuil with Dautreuil Framing built this beautiful system for me and it is a total game changer. It is basically a fancy peg board with movable pegs. It helps to make hanging, moving and working so much easier.

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At what moment did you realize you wanted to be a full time artist?
I realized I wanted to become a full time artist when I was studying in Ireland. It was the first time I had my own studio space that I could be completely free and messy.

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What inspires you? I am inspired by daily by colors, sights and sounds. I am fascinated by the world around me and always look for new compositions or combinations of colors in everyday events. I also inspired my light and how it plays such an important role in nature. I studying tree, clouds and all natural forms.  I find inspiration through pictures, books, magazines, instagram, pinterest, fabrics, beautifully designed interiors, and architectural details! Basically I am always on the look out anything that might catch my eye or spark my interest. I take a ton of pictures and screen shots! Then I used these to create concept boards and organize new ideas.

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What influences your work? My work is influenced by my experiences and situtations I am either currently going through or have been through in the past. You may noticed touches of graphic elements in my work, as I studied graphic design in college and often find my self drawn to simplistic modern forms. I also currently work in Interior Design find that my color choices are often reflections of fabrics or rooms where I find color to be interesting. I love impressionism and try to mimic a modern twist to an impressionistic landscape within my work.

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Do you ever get creatively stuck? How do you unblock your creativity? Oh of course I get creatively stuck. Every artist does. The best way I have found to unblock myself is to pull out some blank canvases and start painting back ground colors and adding washes to pieces. I like to try new things and experiment when I am stuck too. Never take your self too seriously and always have fun. This frees up my mind and gives me a chance to let go. Best just to push through creative blocks. Like life your work will be cyclical, always going through ups and downs but the best way to make it through is just to keep going.

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What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist? If I wasn’t an artist I would love to be an architect or an interior designer!! But if we are getting real crazy maybe I would say a vet!