We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Czajkowski and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, why did you pursue a creative career?
In some way, I don’t feel like I had a choice. I tried to appease my mother and parts of my self by pursuing first a career in Engineering- to be fair it was a Pre-engineering program where I attended undergrad- and I only lasted a semester. I found myself unenthused with learning except in my art classes, so after that first year I stopped putting my focus towards anything but art- and I loved it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a lifelong learner- I am constantly curious- forever uncovering and revealing new aspects of my own practice. My interests have always been connected to my personal experience- what does it mean to be a human animal living this corporeal existence in this place, in this time? Recently, that train of thought has led me to consider mortality- to really investigate death- how little we understand, how much we speculate and imagine and deny. For me- this attempt to evade death is an act of all creatives- we put into the world that which will outlive us- we create our own legacy- and these ideas tie in nicely within theory of photography, my primary medium, and of our connection with- and separation from- nature. This focus on mortality feels especially pertinent right now in the midst of a global pandemic, and has actually changed my current focus to also consider collective grief, and the possibility of collective healing, through art. Much of my work now is experienced through video and photographs, performance, and immersive installations. I had to make a lot of difficult decisions to pursue my artistic career. I had, and continue, to choose it and actively invest in it over and over again. Creativity is a process, a practice, and requires attention and time and nurturing. I still have to remind myself of this daily.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would have to see the Heard and the Phoenix Art Museum, I also love the Rosson House Museum- and if it is in the late fall, they have an incredible Seance and Spiritualist tour. We would check out Curious Nature and take a tour of Liberty Wildlife sanctuary. Next, we could shop herbs and perhaps get a session in at Crow and Owl then have our aura photo taken at the only place that still does this on film in the city- Phoenix Rising Now. Finally we would round the visit off with a hike out in the Superstitions.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shoutout to my creative community here in the Phoenix metro area- there are literally too many artists/curators/enthusiasts to name, but a special credit goes out to eyelounge, and to the artists and educators of ASU.
First image of my taken by Ella Inderieden The rest of the images of my work were taken by me.