About

What I do

I am an artist, illustrator, and aspiring art conservator.

Education

I received my Associates Degree in Arts and Portland Community College and am currently completing my bachelors of science in Art History at Portland State University (B.S. in Art History, haha, I’ve heard that joke before and it never stops being funny ^_^). I’ve completed to General Chemistry cluster and will be going back for Organic Chemistry.

I’ve also been attending Masters School of Art for my Certificates of Mastery and Teaching. There

Work History

August 2016-present: Working with Samantha Springer, Objects Conservator from the Portland Art Museum, archiving print works.

January 2016-present: Intern: Robert Krueger of Cascadia Art Conservation Center. Restoring portfolio projects an assisting with Two Chinese Lions from Portland China Town.

Spring 2016: Intern: Masters School of Art. Assistant teaching Beginners Drawing.

Achievements

Art History Student Ashley West Gains Hands-on Experience in Art Conservation

Artists’ Statement

I draw my inspiration from what I previously believed the most unlikely places imaginable: chemistry. Painting and drawing came easily to me from a very young age, but when I decided to pursue a career in art conservation, I quickly realized that artistic alone wouldn’t cut it. Though I greatly struggled with chemistry in high school, I would have to pick it up again in college to better understand how to preserve historical art. I never would have imagined how much I would love chemistry, let alone how it found its way into my art.

I quickly fell in love with how beautiful the microscopic world truly was. In my art, I aim to share that beauty with my viewers. In my art, I want everyone to see these chemical structures the way I do. The atoms, molecules, Lewis-dot-diagrams, what have you are a representation of something much greater than themselves. In my art, I incorporate the microscopic structures into a beautiful painting with the more visible objects they represent. Is that not what art is? A representation of beauty?

Similarly, I look to the Old Masters for their techniques. These artists created art that was meant to be loved and appreciated by viewers for all generations, and for all times, and have centuries worth of knowledge and foundation to understand what truly speaks to viewers. I look to the Renaissance for their legacy, the Impressionists for their colors, and the Surrealists for their fantastical worlds. As I study more time periods and cultures, I incorporate more values and elements in my own art. I am very opposed to the post-contemporary idea that art is only about a message and nothing else, or an emotion and nothing else for this modern day and age, and you can only understand it if you are “educated” enough to understand what it means.

I believe art has a responsibility to educate as many people as it can for as many generations as it can. Even if the structures shown in my art turn out to be vastly different centuries down the road, viewers can still look to my art and appreciate that during my time, this is what we thought they looked like, and appreciate something beautiful at the same time. The idea of multi-generation appreciation appeals to me on an artistic, spiritual, and scientific level.

As I paint, I hear two voices. Pierre-Auguste Renoir speaks to me on right side, and Isaac Newton is on my left. Newton tells me to see farther by standing on the shoulders of giants, and Renoir says that art should be beautiful; that there are so many ugly things in this world and I shouldn’t add to it.

Ashley West

2016