Artist Spotlight Series: Ashley Sellner

I am thrilled to feature this talented local artist that I have know for a while but was reminded of her genius in my Artist Spotlight Series feature of Eleanor-Scott Davis.  

I am loving her entire portfolio but her interior pieces really capture my love for interiors.

Enjoy getting to know

Ashley Sellner

Charlotte, North Carolina


What is your training? 

I have a BA in art history from Wake Forest.  Although I grew up drawing and was a class short of an art minor, I am mostly a self-taught painter. Page Laughlin, my first art professor at Wake, shaped my passion and practice.

What inspires you and your designs?

It is essential for man to have an untouched place in his land, just as it is essential for man to have an untouched place in his soul. And when I say untouched I am not talking about a sacred place where you may hardly breathe, but a place where life pushes forward in all its splendor. When I say untouched I mean a place full of turmoil and calm. Love and creativity originate in such a place in the soul. It’s a wild place.    Elisabet K Jokilsdottir

I am inspired by the fullness of land, especially a long range view.  I love feeling small, but held.  When shelter-in-place became a reality, I found my focus shifting to interior spaces.  Can we create sacred space within our homes and what imbues space with fullness and life? What transpired were small intimate portraits of interiors. There is a profound stillness to these highly edited spaces.  I am reminded of the quietness of those first months in isolation.

What is your favorite piece? 

This simple watercolor sits on my dresser.  I love the memory it evokes – the setting sun and the ocean of the grass we passed through as we made our way back to camp. Our days on safari in Botswana are some of my most precious memories with my family.  I long to travel again, but I am so grateful for the big experiences we have already had. 

How has your area influenced your work?

We’ve lived in Charlotte for 20 years and in that time I’ve watched the visual arts community thrive. I’m constantly inspired and convicted by the resident artists at the McColl Center.

What is your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?

I am a creature of habit; rarely do we venture from our zip code.  Weekly, we make visits to Leroy Fox for the best fried chicken and Brussel sprouts. 

If it’s a special occasion, I love the intimacy of Barrington’sFlower Child is a new lunch favorite with girlfriends.

What is your favorite cocktail?

I love a cold draught beer (Hop Drop and Roll from NoDa Brewing in Charlotte or Pernicious from Wicked Weed in Asheville), but most weekend nights end with a little bourbon – Jefferson’s Ocean if it’s in the cabinet, but Bulleit will do – and a late night chat with my husband.

How do you balance personal life and work?

If you had asked this question at the beginning of 2020, I feel I had found the perfect formula – a run in the morning and studio time in the afternoon until carpool began.  With school at home (I have two teenagers, freshman and senior), I fit art in whenever possible.  Currently, my studio is in the basement of our home which makes it a little too easy to multitask (laundry spins while I paint).  In November, I’m moving into dedicated studio/gallery space on East Boulevard with Studioworks.  I’m excited to separate work from home life and develop a more disciplined approach to my practice.

Dream trip?

Quarantine has given me a wanderlust and I’ve been noodling on this for 6 months…I have friends from India and I have secretly wanted them to curate a journey for 6 friends to experience their homeland.

Dream commission?

It’s been fun to find inspiration in old House Beautiful magazines that I have stashed in my closet.  I love to tag the finished result on Instagram.  A couple of my favorite designers have commented.  I would love to develop a relationship chronicling interior spaces much like Jeremiah Goodman.

Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

In late spring, early summer, I love to share the hydrangeas from my garden. During the fall and winter, I am partial to Cloister Honey, a cottage industry that started from a beehive in our neighbor’s yard.  They have a yummy bourbon infused honey and a whipped honey with cocoa. 


Your favorite up and coming artist?

I wouldn’t call either of these two artists “up and coming”, but I adore their work from afar and their connection to the place they inhabit: Isabelle Abbot from Virginia (@isabelleabbotart.home)

and Scotty Peek from Columbia, South Carolina (@scottypeekart). 

I am in awe of Isaac Payne’s use of color, light, and perspective to create space and time (@payne_i).  Each collage feels like a memory.  I am honored to have two of these large scale pieces in our home.

What is your most treasured possession?

Our collection of art.  When we married 23 years ago, my husband, Adam, and I decided to invest in one piece of art each anniversary.  Each piece has such a unique story and connects me to that point in time. 

What are you reading?

If I’m not painting, I’m reading.  I just finished Apeirogon, Colum McCann’s new work.  It’s unlike any piece I have ever read, so thoughtfully constructed.

Last night, I started Michele Harper’s memoir, The Beauty in Breaking. I love personal narrative. 

If I were cornered, though, I have a strong affinity towards domestic fiction.  

Weather by Jenny Offil was a recent favorite.

I find many of my next reads from my friend Amy Sheldon and her blog, A Lifely Read (@alifelyread).

What are you listening to?

If I’m running I’m listening to podcasts: Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, On Being with Krista Tippett, or Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher’s podcast Art Juice (everything sounds better with an English accent!)  If I’m painting, it’s usually an album that I can play from start to finish. Lately, it’s been Michael Kiwanuka or the soundtrack from Out of Africa (my playlist runs the gamut).

What are your favorite blogs / publications?

I’m a sucker for any shelter publication: House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Architectural Digest, Garden and Gun.  The top of my closet is lined with piles of old magazines including vintage Domino. (I think we moved Martha Stewart Livings from house to house for 15 years!)

Be sure to follow Ashley on her website and Instagram.

Take a look at her beautiful work. 

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