Ashleigh Sumner is a self-taught artist living and working out of the Arts District in Downtown, Los Angeles. Born in 1979, Sumner received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western Carolina University before moving West to Los Angeles.
Much of Sumner’s work is heavily inspired by industrial areas, inner city life, and political/social movements of the past and present. Sumner’s mixed media process often involves the photographs of icons along with material used from found street flyers. These street flyers are Xeroxed and applied repeatedly to wooden canvases creating multiple stacked and torn layers of distressed, paper imagery. Her natural love of text is often implemented through out her pieces by incorporating pages from books of poetry, verse, lyrics and theatrical plays. Selected pieces of literature within a piece are not only used to add layers and depth to a work but are often intended to make a subtle political or social statement involving class, gender, poverty and equality. The heavy use of spray paint or “graffiti rambling” is repeated over and over again, illegibly, often as a single song lyric, poem or historic quote. House paint is applied, scrapped and splattered through out the work then partially sanded away with an industrial hand sander to achieve a distressed visual. Lastly, several heavy layers of resin are added to each piece and then flamed with a blow torch to create a perfectly smooth, modern finish to the gritty artwork underneath.
In her latest body of work, Sumner has been focusing on the concept of handwriting as a lost art form. In her 2016 solo exhibition, "Written All Over Your Face," Sumner silkscreened into her paintings the handwritten letters, song lyrics and speeches of some of America's greatest icons. The use of handwriting is a signature detail found throughout Sumner's most recent pieces.
Internationally, Sumner’s work can be found in private collections across the globe. In 2014, Sumner was named by a juried panel the winner of the Red Bull Curates Competition for Los Angeles. As a result, Sumner was highlighted in a special exhibition with SCOPE, Miami at the Miami Basel that year.
In addition, Sumner proudly curated in 2012 “Street Preachers: An Exhibition of Female Street Artists in Los Angeles” at the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock in east L.A. “Street Preachers” was awarded grants from both the Pasadena Art Alliance and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Sumner’s work can be found at representing galleries in the United States and Europe.