Five questions with artist Ashley Crowe, probably better known as your instagram nail obsession, @Astrowifey. Beloved by Chicagoans and beyond, she's as talented as she is kind. We sat down with her in her Jefferson Park studio.
1. Where do you find design inspiration?
AC: Everywhere! Usually, my nail art sessions are a collaboration with my clients; they’ll throw me an idea they have and then I'll do additional research. I'm also inspired by things happening in pop culture around the world, fashion, patterns, tiles, nature, even birds! I’m also inspired by other nail artists and the work they’re doing-- ones I'm currently into are: @macokwsk, @gaudyoctopus, @spifster , @thegigijiggles, @krocaine, @rosebnails, and @sweetandsavvynails.
2. How would you describe your style?
AC: All across the board. I love color and patterns, and I’ve been told I really like to rock a floral…but I’m very picky about which florals and patterns. I like bold and different. I've also been really into bright green and orange this summer.
3. What is some professional advice you received that helped you navigate your career?
AC: Some great advice I received was: don’t let bad people burn you out. Working hard and establishing boundaries is really important...I'm still working on this and learning! I have a friend who is not in the industry, but told me that often you will want to take every possible client who wants to experience your work, but after some time you realize that's not always possible and learn to value your work--both as an art and a business. If you’re not happy with the people you are working with, you don’t have to take them. You can move on, and nobody has to take it personally.
4. What advice would you give someone who wants to get into your profession?
AC: Reach out to the nail community that you have in front of you! The majority of us (nail artists) are very open to sharing, and that’s what has helped us be able to grow and learn. I think that’s really important. Also, don’t compare yourself to other people and their journey. It’s easy to get wrapped up in that, and you can lose love for the artwork that you are creating. That mentality will block your creative flow and change your intentions and can hinder you from learning as an artist. Follow your own journey, and don’t get discouraged.
5. What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?
AC: I really like when I have free time to go to the Ed Paschke Center. They have really interesting rotating artists in the gallery and it's free; it runs off of donations. I like to support my community, and Ed was an awesome artist. It’s one of my favorite places in the city, and I feel like not many people know about it! Definitely one of my favorite places.
Bonus Question: Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?
AC: I love my nameplate necklace because it’s a replica of one I had as a child. My family got it made by our jeweler (editor's note: Torres Omar, our Milwaukee Ave. jewelry friends right down the street!), and it’s something I can see in old photos of our family. Even though I lost the original when I was a child, it still carries that same sentiment knowing that it was replaced and still has that throwback, vintage vibe. It’s something I never take off.
I also really love rings, and one of my favorite pieces of jewelry is this ring I got in Mexico City when I traveled there with friends. I wish I still had contact with the artist; they were a street vendor, and the ring is really unique and special. It has a little bar that moves with stones, and it always reminds me of the fantastic trip with my friends. I love it!
Many thanks to the creative and stylish Ashley for finding the time to chat with us! Have someone you'd like to see interviewed for our Five for Friday feature? Let us know via email or our contact us page.