Ashley Cassens is an extremely talented artist located in Tampa, Florida. She specializes in mostly figurative and representational art. She has been a creator of art for most other life; not only does she create, but she also enjoys learning about the arts. Ashley graduated from Florida Southern with a BFA and returned to Florida Atlantic to earn her MFA in 2017. She has been teaching some form of art from the age of 17 till today. Most recently, she has been teaching art in a public school. In 2021, she realized she was ready to take the next step in her personal and business life as she hired a fine art coach who helped her navigate the fine arts industry.
She runs a business called Ashley Cassens Art. She works on custom murals, commissioned portraits, sells some of her own work, and has licensed her artwork through products with large companies such as Homegoods. Recently, she has also started illustrating a children’s book.
Being an artist and starting a business is a long-drawn process, as most institutions don’t teach you anything about being in the business world when you study art. Ashley explains that when she did want to start her business, she had no real idea of how to file for one and the other paperwork needed. So she was doing several other jobs that didn’t serve her passion for art before she made the change to start her own art company. She read many blogs and posts on how people had done it, and in the year 2021, she felt she was ready to embark on her own business venture in fine arts.
Throughout Ashley’s career, she faced several challenges as she expresses how it’s never a steady path for someone in the fine arts industry. But she was extremely grateful to several female leading businesses that inspired her to continue on her path and to keep a positive mindset.
One of her biggest life-altering moments was when she decided to re-apply to school to continue learning about art but got rejected from her top choice after spending a year developing her portfolio. She expressed that it was a heartbreaking experience, but despite it all, she did not give up. She applied to Florida Atlantic, graduated with an MFA, and received a full ride. She had to move to a different city while being married to be able to receive her education, but she still made it work through all the turmoil.
Ashley says one thing that she wished she had known before starting her business was not to start planning or working on anything until clients give you a down payment and sign a contract. As she experienced faulty customers who never came through in the end.
If Ashley could give anyone credit, it would be her parents and husband, as they supported her and stood by her side throughout her creative ventures. She would also give credit to Laura George, who taught her how to make her paintings into a business.
In the future, Ashley hopes to work on her business as a full-time job and to continue licensing her artwork to other major brands. As well as having more time to spend with her daughter and being able to go on family vacations.