Meet Ansley Terrell, as she speaks to Charcoal about her artistic journey and how it’s helped her grow into her current self..
Tell me a bit about yourself and your background
My name is Ansley Terrell. I was born and raised in Newnan, Georgia, also known as the “city of homes.” It’s a growing part of metro Atlanta with a mostly conservative, Christian, and white community, and despite its name, I’ve never felt very at home here. Hopefully art helps me find my way out. I’ve been an artist since I was child- I have the elementary class artist awards to prove it. There’s never been any doubt in my mind or anyone else’s of my abilities and my potential. I attended Georgia State University in Atlanta for my freshman year of college. I was an intended fine arts major with a concentration in drawing and painting. I took four art classes throughout the semester and still didn’t have any proud pieces to claim. Class projects were interfering with my own personal creativity. I decided to take a break from school to create and build for myself. I am currently doing just that.
"Lost: I used this piece as an outlet to express the mental turmoil that was caused by my utter confusion of the life ahead of me, while struggling with the life around me. I was sad and disoriented and tired. Bold marks and patches of colors create an intensity in the face that highlights this expression. While a soft blend of colors with splashes of harsh marks conveys a dark engulfing haziness representing the unclear and unsettling state of being."
How did you get started with creating pieces? and which mediums do you use?
I first started producing more serious artwork my junior year of high school when I was put in advanced art classes. I used to be so intimidated by color and had stuck to graphite pencils for forever. But I fell in love with dry pastels junior year, and I have stuck to them since. I’ve entered my painter era this year though, and it’s been fun to explore a new medium. I’ve been using oil paints and I love it, it brings a whole new life to the artwork.
"Trapped: I was so in my head, when I made this. And I got out of it through drawing this piece. I was in a place of stagnancy within myself and my surroundings. Bold marks and colors helped to express anguish and eagerness in this need to escape myself and my environment."
What does your creative process look like?
My creative process is fairly simple. I don’t do much planning for my pieces at all- which would make my high school art teacher very upset. But I hate planning and sketching, I’d rather just get to it. So I just go for it full force- I’ll start with a sketch of an outline then I’ll start getting to the meat of the piece- the colors. I like layering colors on top of each other rather than perfectly blending them. Completing any piece is honestly the hardest part for me. I get so eager to finish, and I’ll start getting impatient with the details. I get bored of pieces very quickly and once that momentum is gone it's a wrap. And I usually have to finish then leave it alone for a few days to take it in with a fresh view.
"Awakened: I started it in March. I was so excited to finish it, until I ruined it. I messed it up. I hid it. I forgot about it until December. I fixed it. I finished it. I love it. It is me. "
What type of emotions do you want to evoke when people see your pieces?
This may sound a bit narcissistic but I want people to feel what I felt while creating the piece. I want people to feel connected with me and my emotions. Even with simple portraits, there are messages of my mood in my work. I hope that when people look at my art they notice the strokes, the marks, and the colors, because it’s all a form of expression for and of me; I want them to appreciate the WORK within the artwork.
"New Self: This piece is a stand alone portrait but also ties into my Self series. I started this at the end of the year and carried it into the new year when I finished it off in January. The emphasis of myself in my work had been prominent; there was an inner conflict with self, a transformation of self that is shown through my Self series. After shedding skin, I wanted to honor myself with a self portrait. So I set up a mirror in front of my window and let my hands do the rest. This portrait actually doesn’t even look like this anymore, but this is my favorite version."
What advice would you give POC artists?
My advice to POC artists is: don’t be afraid to take up space. It’s so easy to minimize yourself when you’re already the minority, but you deserve space. All kinds of artists and art deserve space within the community. Don’t minimize your mannerisms, your voice, your feelings, your experiences, or your art.
About the Art:
Journey Through Self series (dry pastel) :
"This was not a planned out project. These are a series of works that I finished in sequential order. I approached each piece in the same way, by taking the overwhelming emotion I felt and trying my best to visualize it."
About the Artist:
Ansley has been drawing since she was five years old. Art has always been her favorite way of feeling seen and feeling valued. Ansley states “I know I don’t currently have much work, but I am a passionate artist. I have so much learning and growing to do within art and I am so excited to explore my creativity and share it” Besides art, astrology and spirituality are topics that she also feel cosmically called to.
Social media: @artsleyterrell @ansleyterrell