Unlike many college students who wait until their sophomore or junior year to decide on a career path, Ashlynn Browning, ’00, went into college with one goal: to become aa professional artist.
However, Browning didn’t take the traditional path that many artists do. Majoring in studio art was her primary focus, but she always loved literature and writing as well - so double majoring in English was a natural fit.
“The creative and analytical process is very similar in a lot of ways with writing and art, so the two majors really fed each other and cross-pollinated ideas in interesting ways,” said Browning.
And while one might assume the art degree has been the most beneficial in her career, Browning says her English degree is put to use just as frequently. She uses the knowledge from her English degree while writing artist statements, proposals, and most recently, when she wrote the accompanying wall text and essays for the exhibition she curated at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA).
The exhibition is titled Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting. It features paintings of many different styles with one common goal: to serve as an antidote to chaos and an invitation to slow down and set order to the disorienting environment around us.
“I wanted to feel some semblance of control over my environment and create something beautiful and positive,” said Browning.
Browning has participated in exhibitions in Charlotte, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Columbia, South Carolina. She’s also been featured in the 2009 and the 2015 Southern Edition of New American Paintings, and has been reviewed by Burnaway, The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
When she’s not in the studio or curating exhibitions, Browning enjoys mentoring other young artists at Meredith. Each spring, she returns to work with Lisa Pearce’s students to help them select work for their senior exhibition. “It’s easy for me to remember the excitement of that process when I was a student,” she said. “And I really enjoy getting to be part of that experience again.”
Her advice to aspiring artists is to go for it and understand you will get out of it what you put in. “If you have talent and work hard, the opportunities are endless.”