img_7139“What I’m doing is creating something that can go out there, and be seen, and then never be unseen.”

Asher Jay is an artist whose compelling paintings, sculptures, installations, animations, ad campaigns, and films all have a single purpose: to incite global action on behalf of wildlife conservation. 

Asher’s travels to the frontline have made her witness and story-teller, combatting illegal wildlife trafficking, promoting habitat sanctuaries and illuminating humanitarian emergencies. Her core message, again and again: biodiversity loss during the Anthropocene – the Age of Man.

Much of her best-known work spotlights the illegal ivory trade. In 2013, grassroots group March for Elephants asked her to visualize the blood ivory story on a huge, animated digital billboard in New York’s Times Square. Viewed by 1.5 million people, the internationally crowd-funded initiative aimed to provoke public pressure for revising laws that permit ivory to be imported, traded and sold. Asher also participated in the Faberge Big Egg Hunt in New York, where her oval ornament helped raise money for anti-poaching efforts in Amboseli.

A nomadic globe trotter who fell in love with New York while studying at Parson’s New School of Design, Asher Jay is determined to motivate you to understand you have real power in determining nature’s fate, and our wild future.

“Conservation can no longer afford to be marginalized,” she asserts. “Today, we need everyone.”

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SELECT QUOTES

On being an extroverted introvert

“I just loved the spotlight, and so that’s something that’s very hard to give up. It’s a bizarre thing. It’s like a social addiction. It’s like I just feed off of that energy…”

“I love my own company. I love being alone… then, I can make things happen. I can think in big spaces and push outside of me. I can expand and occupy the whole space that I’m in, which never happens when there’s other energies stifling it … I just can’t have another energy physically in my space because then it inhibits my thinking and my creative expression.”

On art

“It educates, it empowers, it encourages, it enables, it opens your whole world up in a way that it can never be expanded otherwise because everything else is so linear. This is all immersion, and I think if we can do that it shouldn’t do less.”

“The art world should take it upon itself to reach the masses … There’s a massive disconnect. I think that there is why art is not reflective of anything. A lot of contemporary art is just bogus.”

“I just think the truth of our times is what art should stand for. True art does reflect that, because the artist reflects that. He is a vessel to our times; she is a vessel to our times.”

“As a kid I used to go lick paintings all the time in museums and galleries. That’s how I knew I liked that work. When I create, if I don’t feel that, that means the work isn’t resolved, and it’s flat. I’ll work at it until I feel like I want to eat it.”

“When you have genuine insight, you own it. It becomes you.”

On creating art in the digital age

“My art has to co-evolve with this alternate reality that it’s not physically created for.”

On good business

“I don’t come from an arts background, I come from a design background. The distinguishing fact to that is that with design you’re taught that it’s a business.”

“Being an artist means that you’re not that good at selling because you’re so wrapped up in the creative process. It’s very hard to break out of that and be a shark. It’s a seduction. You’re going to lure them in and give them what they think they want.”

On delivering her message and motivating action

“I want to communicate the atrocities that are happening around the world, but I want to do it in a way where people feel enabled to participate.”

“People always assume the obvious thing has been said.”

“I’m always looking at the alphabet, not at the complex sentence. I want to give people great basic structure with which they can build out the larger narrative.”

“What I’m doing is creating something that can go out there, and be seen, and then never be unseen.”

“That’s what my images accomplish – they create this baseline upon which everyone can stand and say ‘this is what we’re moving toward.”

“I hate that Hollywood always takes you past that ‘now what’ moment, which is the best moment to leave the audience at, and gives you a happy ending. I’m like, “That’s rubbish”. Life is never ending there. It leaves you in the ‘now what’ moments throughout and that’s the whole point. You’re missing the point if you’re not in a ‘now what’.”

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