Monday, January 12, 2015

Five Minutes with Duluth Illustrator Ashley Marnich

I can't seem to recall where I first noticed the work of Duluth illustrator Ashley Marnich. What I do know is that Marnich has developed the ability to transform the nebulous and ethereal into detailed imagery that makes an impact.

EN: What do you currently do for a living?
Ashley Marnich: I currently do freelance work out of my small home studio.

EN: How did you take an interest in drawing? Who were your early influences?
AM: I honestly can’t think of a time that I didn’t have an interest in drawing. Far back as I can remember some form of creativity occupied much my time. My mom likes to joke that I was born with pencil in my hand and ready to draw. Early influences came in the form of Old school Disney cartoons, Jim Henson movies, and the surrealistic concept art of Roger Dean and Syd Mead.

EN: A lot of your work is quite edgy. How did this line of illustration develop?
AM: My style and subject matter partly developed on its own over time. I can’t really explain why I tend to draw darker subject matter. In the past I tried to stick to lighter subjects but my imagination would gravitate back. I am not a dark person but I am an emotional person and it plays a large role in what I create. Life experiences both happy and sad have a place in my creative process which is very cathartic. The integration of anatomy in my art didn’t come until I took a ‘Human Anatomy for Artists’ course my sophomore year of college. I quickly fell in love with the great amount of skill used in anatomical illustrations and began experimenting with my own form of anatomical illustration. I’ve battled many illnesses throughout my life and undergone several joint surgeries. Being able to see the internal human form as a work of art has really helped me understand and work through obstacles within my own body.

"Morning Commute"
EN: Are you selling your work? Do you have a following locally or nationally?
AM: Prints of nearly all my work are available to purchase and I’m free to create custom art as well. I’m not quite sure about a following but it’s always a surprise when I find out how many people have viewed and appreciate my art. It’s not uncommon for me to receive an email or Facebook message in another language and the only words I understand are the titles of my art pieces. Unfortunately, my work hasn’t had many chances to be seen locally in Duluth given my subject matter but a few pieces from my BIKE series are on display at the Duluth International Airport. The Tangent Gallery in Detroit Michigan has been very kind to me and my artwork over the past six years. Every year the Tangent Gallery hosts The Damned and Corpus Illuminata, both are exhibits that cater and encourage edgy dark art. and

EN: What kind of formal training have you had?
AM: I graduated from the College for Creative Studies Detroit MI with a BFA in Illustration.

EN: Who are your favorite artists?
AM: I admire a really long list of artist but the top few are Greg Simkins, Chuck Tam, Ekundayo and Marco Mazzoni.

EN: Where does your inspiration come from?
AM: I mostly find my inspiration everywhere and an idea for an art piece can come to me at any time. However I do find that when I am moving and active ideas flow much better. I also try to spend a lot of time with nature. Plants, animals, earth, water and rocks can be good teachers of how light and shadow play off each other to affect color and form. I also see a lot of human elements in nature and try to convey that. A twisted tree root can instantly make me think of twisted muscle and sticks might look like bone. I feel that we as people may all look different on the outside but are very much the same on the inside. We have hearts, brains, muscles and bones; everyone is connected in that way. My mind creates what it wants to create. Since I can remember, every successful art piece of mine was first laid out in my mind. It sounds a bit strange but I need to imagine an image fully finished before I even start sketching it out. As I work the image will sometimes change a bit from how I originally envisioned it but the concept remains the same.

EN: What are your favorite mediums to work with?
AM: The mediums I tend to gravitate toward and am most comfortable with are graphite, watercolor, ink, and Adobe Photoshop.

To see more work by Ashley Marnich visit


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