Brite Winter 2015 Artist Spotlight: Ashley Sullivan

Interview by Emily Appelbaum

Ashley Sullivan teases bold colors from the landscape and captures fragments that are at the same time wistful and perfectly concise — no question that a major influence on her art has been growing up in northeast Ohio, a place where “the rust belt smokestacks and old industry give way to leaning barns and fields of soy.”

She says that, “Depending on the season, or the temperament of the weather that day, the landscape outside the windows changed. Light ebbed and flowed against a field that boomed green and whispered in summer breezes and went all cracked brown and sharp when whorls of snow came tumbling out of the iron skies in winter.” 

She learned to see the beauty in everything, and to keep it “all safe in the deepest pockets of her brain.”

After living in Chicago, Ashley has boomeranged back to Cleveland and is newly settled in Shaker Heights. 

What is your favorite thing about being an artist in Cleveland?

Very few tiger attacks.

What is a recent milestone you achieved in your work?

I’ve just begun showing my paintings in a gallery downtown that’s been around for more than a century. Seriously. (See her work at the Bonfoey Gallery –

How has Cleveland – the weather, the city, the people, or any other aspect – affected the work you do?

I am having a love affair with Cleveland’s bridges.  

*What’s your favorite thing about winter? *Long johns. Do people know what long johns are? They should!