Ashley Elander

Ashley Elander's photo

Recent A&D Grad

Ashley Elander is a 22-year-old who's fresh out of A&D (BFA '10!). When she's not job hunting these days, she's drinking coffee, feeding her cat, or drawing too much. Ashley is always on the look out for new blogs, artists, and other inspirations in order to create positive reinforcement that one day she, too, will be able to lose her part-time job(s) and work as an illustrator-animator-spectacular. She recently moved to Logan Square in Chicago, IL where she's soaking up the fall weather.

Posts by Ashley Elander

In The Middle

Middle schoolers invade A&D

What happens at the School of Art & Design during summer semester when classes are out?  Is it week upon week of orientation tours?  Or does the building just sit there waiting for its fall semester of students? Are the studios invaded by mice? 

Luckily, none of the above because the school offers a variety of summer camps for non-A&D students.  Anna Foster (BFA '10), Marissa McLain (BFA '12), Reed Esslinger-Payet (MFA '12), and myself had the pleasure of teaching 'In The Middle,' a camp of thirty 11-13 year old kids in the Ann Arbor area.  During a week of teaching about art books, silkscreen printing, linoleum print making, collage, drawing, and a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts, I was able to show the students a hands-on lesson about stop motion animation.  Thanks to the Duderstadt's Digital Lab One and the program Frame Thief, every student was able to create...

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Arts & Crafts Galore

I recently moved to Chicago and just found a small sense of home here when I happened upon the Renegade Craft Fair about two weeks ago.  Picture Ypsilanti's Shadow Art Fair...times 3000!  If you like Etsy, backpacks, silkscreen, interesting jewelry, or just walking in an environment of excited people, boy is this the place for you!  Chicago closes down a few blocks of its busy Division Street two times a year to replace it with tent upon tent filled with nice people who make lots of goods that I know you'll love.  A few of my favorite parts about this craft fair are (1) sure Chicago is its home, but you can find it throughout the year in San Francisco, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Austin, (2) they have a shop that's open year-round in Chicago, and (3) if I create enough drawings, zines, books, etc., I could totally be part of this!

Images above:  Jen Skelley and Nate...

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helpful information and shameless self promotion

We all know getting a job is important.  It's why we go to school.  Yes, we like to learn, but we also know that it takes money to learn...a lot of it.  At this point in my life (having just graduated from A&D), things are a bit more leisurely and less stressful, but I'm also on the brink of having to pay back my student loans.  Ah yes, summer after college.  The perfect time to revamp my résumé and apply for a 'real job'...or maybe a couple part-timers.  Whatever works.


A plus side of being an artist is that I'm not tied down to a boring, text-heavy résumé.  Oh no.  I get what we call in the biz an artist's résumé.  Just like my drawings, I get to jazz up my resume with personality.  Here's where we all get to pretend we're graphic designers.


An important thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to go overboard.  I've designed and redesigned my résumé enough...

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The Funny and The Crazy

A trip to Chicago uncovers Deb Sokolow

Growing up with Chicago as the nearest big city, I'm nostalgic to get out there as much as possible.  During a recent trip, I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art (free on Tuesdays!).  The museum itself is on its way to becoming a personal favorite.  It's tall open space is welcoming when you first walk in, but as you explore the museum further you find nooks here and there holding even more interesting work.

MCA currently spotlights Chicago-based artists.  One artist that made me stop and gaze is Deb Sokolow.  Titled “You Tell People You’re Working Really Hard On Things These Days,” the drawing is a full-blown diagram of what she thinks surrounds her studio space in downtown Chicago.  Despite its large size, the piece is intimate as Sokolow allows us to tap into her train of thought, seeing her humor and her crazy.  It's work like this that makes me alright with my, at...

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Times Up (...almost)

The end of I.P. is near

It's just about that time when I.P. projects are due.  You remember what I.P. is, don't you?  Okay, well it stands for 'Integrative Project, i.e. A&D seniors create their own year-long projects which they develop over time with the constant input of two professors and two grad students.  As the deadline quickly approaches, I've taken it upon myself to figure out what exactly is going on with my project...

I spent the majority of I.P. thinking that my drawings would lead up to another medium, like an animation or paintings.  However, once I realized that the timid, intimate nature of the drawings themselves have a strong relationship with the actual subject matter, I chose to stick with the series of drawings.  It's not settling with what I have, but rather re-working my situational drawings and really honing in on the mood and unspoken narrative of the character, Boxhead....Click for the Full Entry




Disillusion reviewed by the Ann Arbor News

The headlines are correct: Disillusion, the show I curated, has received a review from John Cantú of the Ann Arbor News! In the words of Disillusion's Ben Bertin it's "glowing," so much that I'll forgive Mr. Cantú for referring to the show as "Dis Illusion."


NOBODY FREAK OUT by Tom Buckholz




the birth of a diverse exhibition

A little over one year ago, a fellow IP-er, Eryn Campbell, came to me with an idea she had for an art exhibition.  With her love for visual illusions and my experience of curating a show the year before, we quickly pieced our proposal together.  Out came Disillusion.



With this show, we welcomed a range of interpretations on the theme of illusion and disillusion.  Rather than illusions being solely visual, we asked for consideration of this topic as the concept or idea behind the work.  Artists were pushed to determine how to create a new reality or how to destroy a previously constructed one.

Work • Ann Arbor owns a central spot on State Street, an intersection between UM’s central campus and the city's downtown, which makes for a desirable location for any artist to show work.  Eryn and I felt strongly about collecting work for Disillusion that was both...

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Here We Go

Hi.  I'm Ashley and I'll be blogging as I finish up my IP project this semester.  What’s IP you ask?  It stands for ‘Integrated Project,’ but that’s just a fancy term for a year-long thesis project required of every senior here at A&D.  IP is the first time A&D students are able to come up with their own projects, which can be very intimidating.  You come to love it for the freedom and control over the work, but it's all too easy to resent it for the mental and emotional toll it takes on you as time goes on.

Here are some preliminary drawings for my IP project.  It's about an alter ego, suitably named Box Head, who struggles to cope with everyday situations.




What I enjoy most about my project (and drawing in general) is seeing how other people respond to the image.  I can usually be found drawing when I should be working, using the opportunity to grab...

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