Get your dollar bills ready for this pop-up
Meet Ashley Longshore, the pop artist with a sailor’s mouth, a taste for the high life—Veuve, diamonds, Vuitton, et al.—and an upcoming pop-up shop at For Home Forty Five Ten. We chatted with the New Orleans-based painter at Mirador over a bit of bubbly, naturally.
You grew up in the South, went to an all-girl boarding school, studied theater…you could’ve become a very different person.
Damn right. So could you. So could anybody. I was raised in Montgomery, Alabama to be a trophy wife and join Junior League. I mean, my mom did French hand-sewing. I literally had my initials monogrammed on my underwear until I hit puberty. And I decided I don’t fucking like this.
Your first gallery show was in Montana, where you attended college. How’d you end up all the way out there?
I needed to get of the South. I’ve always craved what’s different. As an artist, it’s my job to put myself in uncomfortable situations. I love to go to Europe for a month and paint—that ain’t easy. I have to buy paint and canvases, and I don’t speak French, man. But those are the experiences that push me.
You went for a degree in English, but ended up painting instead.
I’ve had creative interests since I was a child, but the day I picked up a brush, I lost myself. I saw a lot of famous male artists making millions and I thought, why can’t I?
Indeed. You’ve hit some million-dollar milestones, written a book, and scored some great press mentions along the way. Was there a particular moment when you thought, “Ok, I’ve made it.”
When the bank gave me money to buy my house. Like, I have a termite bond—seriously grown-up.
You recently posted a video celebrating the freedom of being an American woman. Was that in response to those rights being threatened?
I’ve learned that no matter what energy is around you, if you’re smart, you’ll take it and thrust it back into something that’s positive. When you’re brave enough to put yourself out there, especially as an artist, people may judge you, buy your stuff, or poke fun at you. What’s important is that you love yourself. If I love me and my life, it doesn’t matter who the president is or how much money is in my bank account. Isn’t that the essence of being free? If you tell me all the reasons why I can’t do something, I’ll tell you all the reasons I can. If I’m in that mindset, I can tap into all the opportunities I have as an American woman and an entrepreneur.
How did the pop-up at For Home come about?
I had done a big packaging collab with Clé de Peau Beauté that included press tours in Shanghai and Tokyo. They’d never done a trunk show with one of their artists in the U.S., so we headed to Dallas. I went to Forty Five Ten and bought that big, red, heart-shaped Saint Laurent fur coat. Brian [Bolke, then president of Forty Five Ten] said he just had to meet who bought that piece.
You hit it off?
As a consumer, I’m starved for boutique experiences. That’s how I set up my own company. I don’t work with galleries. I work one-on-one with clients. When Brian approached me, it was like perfect synergy. I mean, at Forty Five Ten I feel like I’m at Dover Street Market in Japan. Plus, the store’s clients are amazing.
You’re bringing a ton of things into the store: art pieces, plates, trays…
And the gemstone rugs, which are brand new! Aside from my own studio in New Orleans, Forty Five Ten will be the first place to see them. The store will also be the first place to see my sculptures: a four-foot-tall champagne cork, huge chairs stuffed with shredded money, a massive tube of lipstick… Everything will be limited-edition and hand-signed. Every piece is art.
And it’s all very you.
I love being surrounded by color, sparkle, and things I can play with. It’s funny to see how many people feel the same damn way. My studio is packed with visitors taking photos who don’t want to leave because they’re so happy. My world is a world of honesty, enthusiasm, and glitter—and that’s what I want to bring to Dallas.
Your work glorifies excess and wealth, but is it also a criticism?
Well, shit yeah. But this is America. This is where anything can happen. If you want a Bentley, work hard and get a Bentley. I like to have fun! I love grandeur! Drama, drama, drama! But let me tell you, that’s not where my joy is. My joy is being able to take all my best friends to dinner and have all the Champagne and food on the table. I love these incredible moments where we’re laughing our asses off, playing hide-and-seek in a hotel suite, putting on spa robes and streaking the lobby of the Four Seasons… Those moments make me happy. The money doesn’t define me. And you know why? Because I’ve been broke as shit. I’ve painted in the dark and know what it’s like to have nothing.
Your plate is really full. Are you ever stressed?
You’re damn right I’m fucking stressed. But I love that. It’s a catalyst for me. I take all that energy and turn it into action. In the world, you can be a peacock, a sparrow, a pussycat, a lioness—whatever you are, you’re going to do what you can to survive.
What are you?
I’m a lioness. I go after things. When I want something, I manifest the shit out of it to make it happen.
If you thrive off stress, does that mean you’re a daredevil?
Hell no. This arm is my money maker. I’m scared to even put more jewelry on this arm. Though I might risk more.
You’re going to get tendonitis from all the jewels.
I welcome it.
The Details: Longshore returns to Dallas September 15 for the opening of her pop-up shop at For Home Forty Five Ten, 4510 McKinney Avenue. Then it’s on to Houston! Click here for more details.
Photo | Alexandra Arnold