Ashley D. Pierce (born 1982)

Photo by Margaret Day Allen

Photo by Margaret Day Allen

As she describes herself on Facebook, Ashley D. Pierce is a "Columbus, OH self-taught artist navigating life by creating artwork based on personal experience, emotions and the characters around me."

I pull inspiration for my work from my life. Most of my subjects tend to be self portraits but some are visitors representing an emotion, feeling, vice or real people. I use my art to navigate my life and often find putting the pen to the wood is like talking to an old friend to work out a problem. I start with an idea and create a very loose sketch on wood. ... I find it very soothing to create pattern and repetition as it allows me time to work out the feelings in my head. I use watercolor to stain the wood and colored pencil to bring out the drawing."  (From the artist's Facebook page.) She notes that although her works often address despair or loneliness, she thinks the bright colors and whimsical characters deliver the themes in an accessible fashion.

Pierce grew up in a suburb of Columbus, and has been creating artwork since she was a child. She struggled with depression from an early age, and still finds that creating art helps her deal with the depression and her feelings of not fitting in. Another inspiration now is her son Harvey, whom she often represents as a white rabbit.  The black rabbit she thinks of as "soul self portraits", and the recurring figure with a round face and an emaciated androgynous body is another representation of herself. (Derived from the HMA exhibit catalog written by Guest Curators Robert & Margaret Allen.)

Below: Outside of the polar bear triptych (it folds open to a different scene), Crying Bunny Face on Orange, and Radiate Ashley.

A single mother, Pierce works as art director of the Columbus Center for Human Services, a nonprofit organization assisting adults with physical and developmental disabilities. She creates her art after hours at home, and had the first gallery show of her art in 2014.


Pierce was one of the artists featured in HMA's exhibition New Horizons: Self-Taught Art in The 21st Century (September 23, 2017 - January 7, 2018).

Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since March 2015.