Swish, flick, scrape, drag.
Paint pulls from the brush to the canvas. Ashley Hizer is working in her Decatur sunroom, the tile speckled with drops of acrylic paint. What’s taking shape isn’t a form or figure; rather, it’s an abstract panel with complementary and contrasting colors pulling texture to create the work.
“I just like the freedom that comes with abstracts,” Hizer said. “When I picked up painting again I was immediately drawn towards abstract, that’s just what I gravitated to, and it just stuck.”
Hizer started her career as a journalist, then a teacher and now does art full time. She describes herself as having always been interested in art but pushed it to the side to focus on other things. It took a fortuitous break in her professional life to make the jump.
“My husband and I actually thought that we were going to move, so that’s why I left [teaching],” she said. “I had time over the summer – this is kind of in the meantime, as we thought we were going to be moving – and I started painting and it turned out that we didn’t move.”
In between working odd jobs the summer of 2013, Hizer started putting canvases up on the craft-selling site Etsy. Before long, she had enough buyers to consider going full-time. First friends and family, then people she had never heard of before became her customers. In late October, she got a call from the Jeffrey Meier Gallery in New Jersey. She now has pieces there, in another gallery in Maryland and in homes around the world. She is currently approaching galleries in metro Atlanta.
“One thing just turned into another and I’m doing it full time now,” Hizer said. “It’s great, I love it, it’s so much fun. I don’t know if I’ll go back to teaching, I don’t think I will. I love it so much.”
Hizer is in the process of moving her inventory off of Etsy and onto her website, http://www.ashleyhizer.com. She has begun working with interior designers and bloggers to highlight some of her pieces.
Though she does receive direction for commissions, most of her process is free-flowing. Hizer starts with a base color or colors, then gradually adds more and more layers until her signature swatches of color start to take shape.
“I’m still trying to find my voice in painting, and I think that I have recently, but I have tried different techniques. I think the common theme throughout is that they’re all colorful, there’s a lot of movement and different elements, and they’re all very layered and textured,” she said. “I love playing with color and allowing architecture and landscape and style and just kind of the world around me influence those colors and textures and shapes.”
Hizer remains self-taught, with the exception of a few art classes in high school and college. She describes her process as a mixture of release and refining over time.
“I’m no Picasso, I don’t claim to be, I’m not formally trained in it, and I’m not moving to New York to become the No. 1 artist in America,” she said. “I just want to spruce up people’s homes, I want to do what I love, and if I’m able to sell something along the way, then that’s great.”
This article originally appeared in The Champion Newspaper.