We recently curated an online group exhibition titled “Hello, I love you” and you can view it here. We asked six artists to be a part of it and Ash ‘WOLFDOG’ Hayner is an artist I knew I had to work with! His more minimal yet complex style of works is something that has appealed to me a lot in the last year. We both are from Georgia so it was a perfect chance to work with an artist close to home.
First, thank you so much for being a part of this show!
Thank you! It has been a great opportunity to share my work with a new audience and make some cool connections!
What is your first memory of being creative?
When I was super young I used to build extravagant structures out of Legos and K’Nex — with working elevators and motorized elements. I also was really into painting anything miniature — car models, figurines, etc. I think this was my first real step into creative thinking and developing ideas into reality.
When do you realize what you were making was art?
As I got older — maybe 9 or 10 years old — I began to learn Fireworks and Photoshop with the help of my older brother. I was super into dark macabre art on DeviantArt and really wanted to learn to create this stuff for myself. From there I really began looking at photos differently and started thinking with much more of a design brain.
What’s the process of creating like for you?
Do you have to set the mood? What goes on when creating a new piece? I’ve got two pretty distinct processes! I’ll either blindly attack the canvas, and figure out colors, shapes, and textures as it develops — this is more organic. The other side of my brain LOVES to plan the work out entirely digitally first, and then from there, I have a roadmap to follow. A lot of my work is based on mark-making and figuring out or creating new tools to make new abstract textures.
What inspires you to create art?
At this point — a little bit of everything inspires me. When I initially started to take art seriously, I had just gotten out of treatment for various addictions, and I really needed something to ground me and focus on. It really became therapeutic for me, and creating became a time to get lost in my thoughts and work things out in my head. Now I am inspired by everything around me, whether it’s a particular event or type of music, I’ll make mental notes to elaborate on the feelings it gives me later.
Your style is something I have been drawn more to in recent months. How would you describe your style of art?
My art really stems from my digital design background, as well as my enjoyment of creating tools and finding new methods. Often, I draw heavily from my design background and then have to figure out how to paint it in a physical medium. The process is where a lot of the fun lies for me.
Could you possibly give us some insight into the works you made for this show and what the titles mean?
A lot of my work deals with chaotic textures and energy in defined, and hard-edge spaces. The titles for these pieces are extensions of that!
Did the pandemic have any effects on you when it came to your work?
Did you get more works done while stuck at home or did I hurt your inspiration? I think I experienced waves of productivity, kind of in stages. Initially, I was super excited to have some time to focus and I was cranking out work and content often — I then definitely experienced a lull in the middle, as days started bleeding together and there didn’t seem to be much end of quarantine in sight. As time pressed on I really took advantage of working from home — I am fortunate to have my studio in my home, so I was able to constantly be working on things, even if it was a little bit at a time. Overall I am thankful for the quiet time — especially as travel picks up and work gets crazy again.
Could you tell us what love means to you?
I think love is one of, if not the most important thing we’ve got. As humans, we are designed to be with other people and to lean into each other — from my experiences I have always been in a better position when I lean into those who love me, as well as look after those who I love.
How does love influence your art if at all? Do you see a connection between love and the process of creating?
I have created work that stemmed from heartbreak, as well as work that stems from new love and a positive outlook. I firmly believe that we are the creators of our own destiny and although we cannot control what happens around or to us, we can control how we accept it and what we do with those emotions. Love is one of the strongest and most influential emotions we have, so I think there is a deep connection to creating whether it’s directly visible or not.
What’s something you hope viewers and collectors experience when viewing your works?
I think the primary thing is joy, followed by a dissection of process and layers in the work. I want my work to bring people into a place of calm, and reflection. The path is not always smooth, but we must always move forward. It is most important to always find JOY IN THE JOURNEY.
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