Today we’d like to introduce you to Ash Wheeler.
Ash, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’ve always been an artist. From the 7th grade, I knew I had something within me capable of producing beautiful things- since then, I’ve worked on refining my technique and finding a niche. I started college with the intent of being an art professor one day. In my sophomore year as an art student, I took astronomy, and it inclined me to look up at the night sky more often. I saw the moon hanging in the sky one night and was graced with pure inspiration- I HAD to paint it. I did and it sparked something within me that is indescribable. I began painting all the spherical moons of the solar system and decided I needed to have a medium through which I could communicate the science of what I was painting.
I changed my social media from personal to this persona, “Dust and Ash Co.” where I share what I love. Dust & Ash is an homage to my name “Ash” and also a verse from the Bible where Job is in such awe of God’s creation and is so humbled that he says he “repents in dust and ashes.” When I learn about the universe, I feel immensely small. As terrifying as that may be to some, I thrive off the perspective of it. Despite how chaotic and complex our world, solar system, galaxy and universe is- we exist. I turned nothing into something with my art and I love to tell people about what’s orbiting above our heads. Through the process of creating my business and becoming immersed in the science of what I was painting, I decided that astronomy is my true passion and calling in life. As a senior in college, I changed my major from art to astrophysics. I’m set to graduate in 2023 and my dream is to work for NASA one day, furthering humanity’s reach for the stars and preservation of our own wondrous Earth.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has most definitely not been easy paving the way where no one has quite gone before. Academically, the transition from art to science is not a smooth one. It requires starting over, in a way. I am married, a dog mom, and many other things that have caused me to press pause on school multiple times- I am the epitome of an untraditional student. Getting older and watching classmates, friends and family graduate before me and pursue their jobs has been hard. The financial burden of being in college for close to a decade is not for the lighthearted. Creating a business from scratch and convincing people it matters is challenging. Nonetheless, I have been extremely blessed and am here today because I have persevered.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My work centers on the cosmos. Moons, planets, phenomena occurring in space, etc. I care about the science of what is happening in these astronomical events and places. My current body of work focuses on the solar system: our sun, planets and dwarf planet! I’m known for painting on spherical canvases and the realism I hope to achieve. I’m extremely proud of the work I’ve created and that when you look at it, you feel as though you are floating in space observing it in real-time. What sets me apart from others is that I am pursuing a career in science while also creating art centered around science. I seek to be different in the materials I use, my technique, and how I talk about my work to others.
What matters most to you?
My faith, my family, my friends, my career, my art… there are a lot of things that matter to me, but these things come first. When doing anything in life I first consider my family (and dog, Murph hehe). They are the foundation of what I do and often times charge me up when I need replenishing. My friends have accepted me for who I am and support me with great tenacity. My career is something I am working tirelessly towards, and I feel is detrimental not only to my existence but to others as well. My art is a way of expressing what is within me but also serves to serve others. My faith is an unexplainable constant in my life that has paved the way for my entire existence. It’s the reason I’m the person I am today, the reason I abruptly changed my career, the reason for everything. It’s hard to sum up our lives into one condensed hierarchy of people and things- but when it comes down to it, these are the things I prioritize the most.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.dustandashco.com
- Instagram: @dustandashco
- Facebook: Dust + Ash Co.
- Twitter: @dustandashco