Professional art and kids, according to Claire Ashley

Do you see a connection between professional art and kids?


Claire Ashley does!

cashley_portrait from SAIC web site

Claire Ashley


We met with Claire during December 2014, when she told us she loves urban Chicago, middle class and abstract art, which she said could be playful, gaudy and bright. She said her art was influenced/transformed by her kids, and Sponge Bob! She frequently used the word “humor”, and thinks art is too serious.

Click here to read a nice Chicago Tribune article by Lori Waxman, reviewing the exhibit “Division of Labor: Chicago Artist Parents” at Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College that concluded February 14, 2015.


Claire is an artist with Lively Bottle, which she says contributes to a more democratic access to art. She thinks art needs to be successful on many levels, not just academic. She’s not too keen on some name brand popular artists, who she described as commercial and one-level.


Claire teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), primarily 18 year-olds in Foundations or Contemporary Art Practice. Students learn core – medium and materials, and research and source materials for their art. She described SAIC as very conceptual, designed to stimulate poetry and curiosity, for example, and addresses cultural and political content vs. material.


Claire is very passionate, and cultivates this passion in her students; we think she would be a fun teacher! She is a native of Scotland, and enrolled as a student at SAIC after being influenced by a visiting professor doing a summer residency. She is an admirer of Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists of the 1960’s. She mentioned Gladys Nilsson, one of the original Chicago Imagists, known for paintings presenting a surreal mixture of fantasy and family life in a parade of chaotic images.


Claire does flat paper painting – plastic, cintra, paints on large paper using spray paints, stencil, sweep and scrape; she uses digital multiplication and folding techniques.


Click here to purchase one of Claire’s images in the Lively Bottle Art Gallery.


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