Ashley Joncas is a force to be reckoned with. A fireball of creative energy, Ashley harnesses her imagination and individuality in several different ways - from photography to modeling to design. Did I mention she started her own magazine? That's not even her day job. All the magic happens at night and on the weekends. Clearly, this girl never stops creating, filling her free time with an abundance of art. Her passion and dedication show through her body of work, and it's inspiring. She has the mentality and motto of "doing epic shit" - and I think that's something that we can all learn from...and aim to do.
ASHLEY JONCAS: I've been running on creative juices since I was little, having set my mind on becoming an artist by the time passed the thresholds of kindergarden. It wasn't really until the end of high school that I felt inclined to fully morph into sort an artistic hurricane of a human. I picked up a camera at age 18 and just started teaching myself the fundamentals of photography and photoshop. At the same time, I was entering college for graphic design and studio art, which combined all aspects of creativity, from color theory, to the Adobe suite, shooting campaigns, and differentiating myself as a brand. From there I began sprinkling my work across the internet and things took off. My motivation is fueled by my intense passion for making things, for challenging myself, and more importantly challenging our planet's perception of what is impossible. I want to inspire people to stop waiting for permission and go forth, doing epic shit no matter what.
SD: You do something UNTHINKABLE to most bloggers and models. You photograph yourself. HOW?! Does it get extremely frustrating, or have you totally mastered it?
AJ: It's definitely a struggle I've mastered through years of mess-ups, hundreds of unusable shots, and hours conceptualizing. It's a weird mix of frustration and intense satisfaction. I grew up studying the poses and angles models would make in Vogue, and with that came an obsession with light experimenting. Being your own photographer becomes easy when you know your angles, you know your capabilities within a given space, and you know how to go from zero to on-point in under 5 seconds. I work with a remote control and a Canon Rebel with a flip screen, so that I can see the shot while in front of the camera. That being said, for every 1 photo that's impeccable, there's around 50 hiding in a folder that are horrible. I dunno...maybe I'm just a control freak! I like full control over my persona and presence, so at the end of the day, the mental strain is worth it :)
SD: What's behind your fascination with switching up your look with wigs? (Because I love it).
AJ: I grew up with really boring long brown hair, which I never felt was me. When I was around 14 I chopped it all off into a bob and died it black. That was my truest self and has been since. The wigs are when I want to diversify my photography as a body of work. sometimes it's just fun to embody an alter ego through new hair, without the effort of frying it and adding extentions. For me it's fun! I encourage everyone to buy at least one wig in their lifetime ;)
SD: Now, besides your personal work, you've also got your own creative studio! What's that like, and can you tell us more about what you do?
AJ: My studio is my little think tank. Right now I'm situated in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle, which is awesome for artists like myself. It has a giant work table as the main entertaining area, and is easily movable to house in-studio shoots. Within that space I do most of my post-production work, conduct meetings, it's where my magazines get pieced together, and it's where I can also decompress with ice cream and Netflix. During the day I'm a graphic and web designer for a local architecture firm, but on nights and weekends the Ashley Think Tank is where all of the creative magic happens.
SD: On top of this, you have your own magazine! What prompted you to enter that world, and what's your favorite part about it?
AJ: The magazine, known as CXIII, came about due to my weird frustration with the publishing industry, as well as my desire to put something new out into the world that utilized digital publishing beyond the typical blog. Most fashion magazines were stuffed with advertisement after advertisement, and content was like a Where's Waldo game. It was, and still is, driven by popular culture. I wanted to make a visually compelling magazine that was ad free, not profit focused, but instead art focused. I wanted to bring various corners of the art world that don't usually meet, like video game concept art followed by high fashion photography, and aesthetically bring them together under one dark publication. 10 issues later and it's become one of my most rewarding and time intensive personal projects, but the reaction and continuous reads has made it all worthwhile. Another interesting key to the publication is that most if not all artists featured are under the age of 30. So in essence, it's an underground cult of the freshest minds that will visually mold our future.
SD: Besides fashion and art, what are your other passions?
AJ: I love cooking, especially lately! I'm passionate about baking in particular...and then eating what I bake. Maybe I just like bread, who knows! I'm obsessed with going on coffee shop adventures. I love running along the waters of Seattle, and just walking aimlessly listening to music. Also, Star Wars and html coding are big passions of mine, but I try not to bring the nerdy me out in public too often.