Ashley Mary
Ashley Mary

What does it take to be a top seller at the annual MCAD Art Sale? We asked Ashley Mary, one of the best of the last two decades, to talk us through her experience and share her secrets. 

Ashley Mary ’18 creates abstract paintings that tap into concepts of youth and playfulness and curiosity through the use of thick textures, vibrant colors, and organic and familiar shapes. Her process is influenced heavily by her collage work, patterns, vintage ephemera, and her background in graphic design.

What mediums do you primarily work in?

Acrylic on canvas or wood panel.

What has MCAD meant for you in terms of launching your creative career?

Getting my masters in graphic and web design helped me launch my own freelance career where my skillset can be really broad-reaching. I'm able to fuse my studio art with design skills to create products, murals, branding, and marketing for my own company. The two co-existing wouldn't be possible without my degree.

Where are you now in your career?

I have two main jobs. My own company that lives under my name involves a fine art practice, mural installation, product design and sales, and brand collaborations with clients both nationally and internationally. My second job is serving as the Creative Director and an instructor for a learning studio I created with Lauren Callis Erickson called Curiosity Studio. We offer courses for adults to work through creative block.

Can you describe a memorable sale or moment from the Art Sale?

I was able to sell a lot of my work in 2017 which meant the world! I'm always touched when people send me photos of art they bought of mine at sales or it pops up on Instagram. I will never stop being amazed at a stranger connecting with my work enough to invite it into their spaces.

What do you love about making art?

It's breathing. It's my joy, my wholeness. Break out the tissues!

Have you ever purchased anything from the Art Sale? Describe your favorite piece.

Every year! I LOVE and rave about the art sale always to anyone looking to get connected to the art scene in Minneapolis. There's nothing else like it comparably. the sheer breadth of art and its affordability keeps me coming back. It's visual gluttony and I'm here to get full! I also love the idea of supporting an artist in the beginning of their career and getting to discover them a bit in that setting.

Is there any Art Sale work by classmates or alumni that has inspired you? Describe it!

Alanna Stapleton has had really rad embroidery pieces. I have also long loved Ashley Peifer's whimsical little abstract pieces and Julie Benda's more minimal collages.

What Art Sale advice would you give to young MCAD artists?

Document and share your pieces ahead of the sale so people can anticipate what will be available and it will drum up some buzz for the event. Price to sell if that's your intention. I always think having more pieces helps because oftentimes they'll get grouped together and make a larger visual impact. (This isn't guaranteed, I've had pieces be spread out before). Folks loved framed art too!


Additional Top Sellers

*Note that the term "Top Seller" is defined both in sales and number of pieces sold.