Ashley Wolff's Images of Hope

My colleague at Hollins University, Ashley Wolff, has been creating wonderful, inspirational images for each state to stay strong. They're so charming, I wanted to share them with you and ask her more about them as well. Welcome Ashley!
e: What inspired you to start creating these images of hope?
In 2011, after Vermont's small towns were ravaged by floodwaters during Hurricane Irene, a couple in Rutland, VT came up with a slogan and a graphic image: "We are Vermont Strong."
When we were all ordered into quarantine I thought of that effort to boost people's spirits and strengthen their resolve. I combine it with the Stay Home Save Lives command we've all heard from our state leaders. So, of course, the 1st one I painted Was: We are Vermont Strong.
Then I painted California because my sister and son live there,
then Idaho where my son and daughter-in-law live,
then Virginia where I teach every summer,
and Washington state, where this all started, and New York, where the worst outbreak was happening.
      I soon realized that I needed to paint one for every state and to share them as quickly as possible in case seeing their state being cradled by Rufus helped to cheer people or reminded them, in an amusing way, to Stay Home and Save Lives.

e: 50 states is no small project! Do you have them all done? How long did they take?
I have done all 50 states, The District of Columbia, The Navajo/Hopi Nation, and Puerto Rico. It took me about a week. I've been self-employed since 1983, so I am used to tackling deadlines!
e: Rufus is the star of these. For those who don’t know about Rufus (and his predecessors), mind sharing a bit?
Rufus is my fourth Border Collie. I got a puppy in 1977 and named her Pumpkin. She became an alter ego for me. Whenever something happened in my life, I wanted to celebrate a holiday, send a message of love, or a get well soon I used Pumpkin as my character. I have probably painted 500+ "Pumpkin Cards."

Rufus is the dog in the studio now and he has a lovely heart-shaped blaze so he gets to be my "spokesdog" these days.

e: What’s been the response to these?
The response to these on social media has been just what I'd hoped for: amusement, a lot of sharing of the images to family and friends all over the US and even a few requests for prints.

e: You’re always coming up with such creative projects. What’s next up your sleeve?
I am just finishing up the art for a book I wrote called How to Help a Pumpkin Grow to be published by Beach Lane Books. Up my sleeve is another book that will begin shortly but which I am keeping under wraps for now.
e: I can't wait to see it!
Thanks for this opportunity, E!

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Thanks so much, E! You make me look so together!