If we had to use only one word to describe Ashiya, it would definitely be "awe-inspiring". She often speaks with a matter-of-fact tone about everything — from how she looks at the world around her right down to how she would take on criticism. Her principalities are so strong and confident that they simply become the truth to her.
We hope you'll enjoy this interview. Read on to learn more about Ashiya and the way she perceives the world.
What/who/where do you draw inspiration from the most? Do you have a muse of sorts?
I don’t get my inspiration from a single source. It can be literally anything: I can see some colours and be inspired to use them, it can be the way someone’s hair flows, a scenery in a movie, light from a window, a song I heard, or a book I read—really, almost anything can make me want to paint.
Sometimes I don’t even need anything, a picture will just appear in my head screaming “Draw me!” So technically I don’t have a muse, the world is my muse.
What mediums do you prefer to use and what is the best and most challenging part about working with these particular mediums?
Definitely watercolours, it’s simply mesmerising. When you see how colours bleed and blend together, it’s like something magical is happening. The most challenging part... Well, it’s to learn how to control the amount of water and paint, I think. It took a lot of time to understand the way watercolours work.
How would you describe the Mossery Sketchbook to others?
A sketchbook that you want to bring with you because it’s handy, cute, and light. You can keep your important stuff in there too, because it has a few “inspirational sheets” at the beginning and pockets as well. I’ve finished my sketchbook last winter but I’m still using it because it contains my 100 goals for this year.
Can you elaborate more on your 100 goals? I'm quite curious about it!
It's just a list of my goals for the whole year, there are big things like projects and small ones like trying new paper, buying perfumes to my collection or cook something completely new, read certain books, and so on.
By the way, finishing the Mossery sketchbook and making a sketchbook tour video were some of my goals as well! With these goals, I feel more productive and less overwhelmed by the big things I want to do in my life.
Tell us about your creative process.
I see the picture and transfer it from my mind to the piece of paper. I can stick to one idea for some time and add details to it inside me until I get it fully done (this is still within my mind) and then I'd start to draw, or I can just take a sheet of paper and let my hand do the work (this is actually harder).
What do you wish to achieve through your art?
Hmmm, I've never thought about it this way. I’m just doing it because it’s natural to me, I can’t imagine not spending hours drawing. What would I want to achieve through eating or sleeping? Being alive, I guess. Well, it’s the same thing with drawing for me. Maybe to bring something beautiful to this world as well.
Do you believe in talent? Why?
Yes I do, but it’s a really rare thing, it’s possible that someone may be talented and do great things as a 5-year-old, for example, without any knowledge and experience. But I hate it when people call me talented because I think they fail to see all my hard work—hours, months, and years of studying, learning, and practicing.
I don't believe I have a natural talent in drawing, but I do have a talent of hard work, truly seeing things and analysing what I see. I don't remember working on developing these things too much on my own so I think yes, I do see it as a talent. So I have a passion for art and a talent for hard work, that's why I'm here now.
How do you put a price on your art?
It usually starts at the base price and then I add more depending on details, size, complexity, and other stuff.
How do you handle criticism?
First of all, I think if someone wants to give critique, they should ask me If I want it in the first place, because unwanted critique is the worst, you reject it immediately. Secondly – I only accept criticism from people who are more experienced than I am artistically and those who know and understand me and my work. Otherwise it’s just someone’s personal opinion.
So under these conditions, I’ll think seriously about what they said about my works. Even so, you don’t always have to obey what they've said entirely if it’s too far away from what you want to do.
For example, if I love to draw beautiful girls with cats and flowers. If someone whom I respect tells me I have to draw mecha and spaceships with aliens, it doesn’t mean that I have to do it!
Or if they tell me to change my style – I'd say "no, thanks" because I achieved it from years of practicing, I’ll stick to this one and it’ll change slowly with time and experience. But if it’s about small things that will really help me – then yes, sure!
What’s one of the best advice you’ve ever received in life?
I worked with an art director from my department not too long ago, and we didn’t work well together. We didn’t quite... fit together? Anyway, it was a pretty terrible relationship and experience but I think I got my best advice from him.
I don’t know how exactly to say it in English, the phrase is "гнуть свою линию" (gnut' svoyu liniyu), translating word-for-word into "bend your line". It means "to do things my way no matter what".
In return, what advice would you give to your younger self?
To think twice while doing my final project at university. I could’ve done illustrations for a book but I chose another theme. I dreamt about it a lot but forgot about it at that time and now I’m regretting that very much.
Tell us a secret.
Let secrets stay secrets, otherwise, it’s not a secret anymore.