Interview with Ashely Peifer

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
I’m a painter living in Minneapolis with my husband and 15 month old daughter. My paintings tread the line between what is real and what is nostalgia. I am fascinated by nostalgia’s ability to over-beautify, embellish, or even transfigure a memory. I find that my memories are very fractured and fleeting. The more I try to remember a moment, the less detail I can achieve. Recalling my childhood while painting allows me to create playful and indulgent imagery with materials such as glitter, puffy paint, and collage. Memories of neon bright Lisa Frank paraphernalia, rock collecting and sugary sweets are reduced down to their emotional essence and repeated throughout my paintings and collages.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
I start a painting without any pre-set ideas and they evolve through the process of working. However, I do reference a lot of childhood nostalgia within each painting.

What types of obstacles have you run into in your artistic practice and how do you go about navigating around them?
The biggest obstacle for me over the past year or so has been finding big chunks of time to work. I stay at home with my daughter, so my painting time is limited to naps and evenings. The best advice I heard was from painter and mom Sarah Yoder ( – “five minutes counts.” That has gotten me through two solo shows with a baby. Five minutes throughout the day really gets the job done.

What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?  
Sweets like gumdrops, bon bons, cookies, pixy sticks, pop rocks, and various childhood interests represented with symbols like horseshoes (I loved horses), forts, rainbows, and more.

Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to?
My current favorite painters are Amy Sillman, Mary Heilman, Jenni Rope, Allison Miller, Florine Stettheimer, Joanne Greenbaum, Matisse (his interiors specifically), and Rebecca Morris.

What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?
To paint even when (especially when!) that is the last thing I feel like doing. Inspiration comes from hard work.

Thank you Ashely!  If you did not get a chance to see her work in our past exhibition, CONTINU UMM, be sure to check out her website and Instagram for her latest updates.