Ashleigh Sumner, born in 1979, is a self-taught artist living and working out of the Arts District in Downtown, Los Angeles and Jingletown, Oakland. Sumner received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western Carolina University before moving West to Los Angeles.
Much of Sumner’s work is heavily inspired by industrial areas, inner-city life, and political/social movements of the past and present. Sumner’s mixed media process often involves the photographs of icons along with the material used from found street flyers. These street flyers are Xeroxed and applied repeatedly to wooden canvases creating multiple stacked and torn layers of distressed, paper imagery. Her natural love of text is often implemented throughout her pieces by incorporating pages from books of poetry, verse, lyrics and theatrical plays. Selected pieces of literature within a piece are not only used to add layers and depth to a work but are often intended to make a subtle political or social statement involving class, gender, poverty, and equality. The heavy use of spray paint or “graffiti rambling” is repeated over and over again, illegibly, often as a single song lyric, poem or historic quote. House paint is applied, scraped and splattered throughout the work then partially sanded away with an industrial hand sander to achieve a distressed visual. Lastly, several heavy layers of resin are added to each piece and then flamed with a blow torch to create a perfectly smooth, modern finish to the gritty artwork underneath.