This is a bonus article which appears in issue #40. Create! Magazine is an independent artist-run publication. Consider supporting us by becoming a digital subscriber and get access to over 8 years of issues inside the member portal!

Seven years since her debut on the very first cover of Create! Magazine, Ashley Longshore continues to sprinkle joy and colors in the world with her vibrant art and infectious humor. Balancing between New Orleans and New York, this self-taught sensation has crafted a niche for herself, drawing from pop culture in a way that has people dubbing her a modern, feminist Andy Warhol.

Her trajectory is nothing short of phenomenal; it’s a thrilling ride from one landmark to another. The New York Times didn’t hold back, naming her “Fashion’s Latest Art Darling.” And her recent adventures? Well, they’re as colorful as her canvases. Picture this: Longshore celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Peninsula with a series of paintings that are just so Beverly Hills—historic, glamorous, and downright alluring. And let’s not forget her second book, Roar!: A Collection of Mighty Women, that throws the spotlight on iconic women who’ve made history.

Now, diving deeper, we got Longshore to pull back the curtain on her world, one where laughter rules supreme. She’s all about seeking joy, whether that means cracking up while painting or finding bliss in nature. This artist isn’t just here to create—she’s here to celebrate life in all its vibrant, chaotic, and sometimes downright ridiculous glory.

We chat about everything, from her refreshing morning rituals (think pep talks and a whole lot of self-love) to handling trolls with a shrug and a smile. Longshore is a whirlwind of energy, driven by joy and a desire to stay true to herself, to create without bounds, and to embrace the messiness and the spontaneity that each day brings.

Longshore has got advice by the bucketful for budding artists too, encouraging them to be their own biggest cheerleaders, to chase joy tirelessly, and to paint, paint, paint without getting caught up in the whirlpool of comparison and self-doubt.

This conversation isn’t just an interview; it’s a peek into Longshore’s wild, wonderful, and whimsically colorful world. It’s an invitation to laugh louder, dream bigger, and find joy in the little things, with a reminder that, in the grand scheme of things, we’re all stars in the vast sky of creativity, shining bright and unapologetically ourselves.

How has humor helped you navigate life’s challenges?

Whew ... this could be an infinitely long answer. I have always had anxiety and at some point, I decided I would just laugh and make art instead of being a complete shell of a human. I laugh at society’s expectations of me, at the unrealistic expectations of what women’s bodies should look like, at American standards of success; I laugh so hard I piss down my leg. I deal with sadness through laughter. I sound crazy but it’s how I get through ... I wanna be happy. I wanna enjoy life ... Most of all, I LAUGH AT MYSELF ... All I can do is try, all I can do is try and do the right thing. Life is grand ... let’s have a laugh.

When did you first start incorporating jokes and funny sayings into your paintings?

When I was miserable and wanted to laugh! It is that simple. I have been painting and gotten myself so tickled ... Laughing so hard, belly laughing with pee running down my leg … snort cry laughing … ugly laughing ... That is my answer. I paint what makes me happy.

What personally makes you laugh these days?

Eating cheese naked out of the fridge, putting bows on my dog and pretending she is an Ewok, wearing a thong backward … but mostly I have really been leaning into everything that brings me joy. If you seek joy you will find it. Nature is a big part of that for me. I love working in my garden and planting plants, finding bugs ... if you lean into JOY, it’s easier to laugh! And that is the SECRET!

Where do you find the silly memes and videos you share with your audience?

On the internet or people send them to me. Aren’t they fun? Makes me happy and it is also a reminder that humans are good, and funny and we all just wanna live life and have fun with people we love.

How do you handle criticism, or when someone just doesn’t understand what you do?

Sigh ... everybody doesn’t have to like what I do, or say—that’s for sure—and I don’t need everyone’s approval. I know who I am, but damn, sometimes the trolls and haters are just so nasty. It really hurts my feelings ... I wonder who hurt these people. I have never personally trolled anyone and I sleep like a baby at night... Also, fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke ... fuck opinions. You gotta be confident in who you are. That is your armor.

What are some ways artists can build a strong sense of self, both as a person and as a creative?

Your inner monologue needs to be “why you CAN” not “why you can’t.” Be true to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself as you create. Be patient. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Life is precious and short. You are a gift. The world needs you ... you are the only person you will live your whole life with. Don’t be abusive to your sweet self.

You have worked with celebrities and public figures … what helped you be confident and avoid becoming starstruck?

Because they wake up and take a dump just like me. Also, the media, paparazzi, that whole machine is bullshit. These are human beings—successful human beings ... maybe if I shut up and get over myself I will learn something—and also, of course, I get a ‘lil starstruck, but I figure I should take my energy and use it to also SHINE. We are all stars!

You are opening a space in NYC; why is it important for you to continue your legacy as a female artist?

I am very ambitious and want to surround myself with art. Every type of art. Theatre, poets, writers, painters, chefs, musicians, sculptors ... ALL OF THEM! NYC is the creative hub of all of this! I wanna do more for artists. More scholarships, more art parties, shows for creatives… I LIVE AND DIE FOR ART! I WANT IT ALL AROUND ME! IT MAKES ME FEEL ALIVE! I will make and buy art until I am DEAD!

What is currently your studio routine?

6 a.m. pep talk and screaming therapy. 7 a.m. French kiss myself in the mirror, pinch my nipples, smile and put on music. 7:30—talk to myself, paint, disappear in my own mind and take calls and do Zooms all day. Sometimes till 8 or 9 p.m. My brain races, so distractions and the chaos is welcomed. It’s a three-ring circus and I am the ringmaster. It’s a challenge, a lot of fun, and I am endlessly excited for the possibilities in a day. It could be a shit storm, it could rain money ... that is the fun!

What advice would you share with artists to dream bigger and pursue their goals without hesitation, instead of shrinking back?

Success is different for everyone at every different stage of your career. Do not compare yourself to ANYONE. Give yourself pep talks. Be kind to yourself. Fear is temporary and regret is forever. The right people will find you and love you. LAUGH as much as you can. Celebrate your successes. Stay away from jealous people, gossips and assholes. MAKE AS MUCH ART AS YOU CAN! The world needs you!