Lola Who had the pleasure of speaking with Jacqueline Ashton about her series “Her World,” the inspirations behind their pieces and the role of the modern black female artist.
Lola Who: How did you get started in photography and did you study photography?
Jacqueline: I never studied photography. I went to an arts high school in Toronto, and actually majored in dance and film. I just started taking pictures for fun and it’s pretty easy. I take it more seriously now that I’m older and have realized how much I like it.
Lola Who: Can you explain the focus of the piece “Her World.”
Jacqueline: In this series, I focused on reflecting the sense of empowerment that comes with being independent and a woman of colour who is not afraid to be curious and live her life as if it were her world.
Lola Who: What is the meaning of the colour purple to you?
Jacqueline: Purple is a strikingly powerful and peaceful colour. I use this unique colour negative film that changes natural tones into really exciting hues (a lot of purple) and it has been a reoccurring element in my work.
Lola Who: What is the role of the modern black female artist?
Jacqueline: I think the role of the modern female black artist is to represent herself and her ideals, struggles and experiences to the best of her ability. As a female artist of colour we are a minority and if our work portrays our ideals, struggles and experiences then the more our stories are seen and overall the more female artists of colour are discussed and included hopefully.
Lola Who: What kind of feedback do you get from young black female artists?
Jacqueline: After showing my series “Her World”, I got some good feedback. I think it was because girls of colour saw parts of themselves or felt represented and therefore enjoyed it more. Sylvia Lambana, the model I had for the series, is a beautiful girl and her dark skin looks amazing shot with lomochrome purple film.
Lola Who: Why did you want to become involved in “Bad Girls Club”?
Jacqueline: I was eager to be involved in the Bad Girls Club show for a few reasons: it was my first opportunity to showcase some of my photography in a public an exciting space. Also I thought it would be a great way for me to network and meet other artists.
Lola Who: How important is it that your art sparks dialogue amongst its audiences?
Jacqueline: I think it’s important to create what you want, and if it touches subjects that spark conversation, then that’s awesome and if it doesn’t then that is okay too. If it does spark a dialogue, then more people will be acknowledging you and your work and that can be impactful in your life on many levels; good or possibly bad.
Lola Who: What advice would you give to fellow female artists?
Jacqueline: I think it’s important to ask yourself who do you make your work for, who do you want to relate to it, essentially who is it for? Sometimes asking yourself those questions will help you find inspiration for your work. Ultimately I would say, do what you want to do and not what you think any other person, male or female, wishes to see. Create work that you enjoy, and remember to stay true to yourself.
Lola Who: Do you have any special project on the go that you would like to share?
Jacqueline: Actually a few friends and I are planning an event for June 4th in Toronto to fundraise money to buy Diva Cups for women in Palomino, Colombia, where my friend Sofy Mesa is from. Feminine hygiene products are so expensive there and so we wanted to find a way to help.