Well hello there
My name is Ashley Suszczynski, and I am currently coming to the end of my undergraduate education at the University of Delaware. I am double majoring, working towards my bachelors degree in Mass Communications and Social Psychology. Additionally, I am rounding out my studies with minors in advertising, interactive media, and fine arts. Outside of school, I work as a freelance photographer, graphic designer, and illustrator.
Behind the lens
I grew up with the television as my Nanny; practically raised by MTV. Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the music business and wanted to be a part of the scene. With no sense of rhythm, and a singing voice that only a mother could love, I turned to photography as my ticket into the entertainment industry. Photographing small concert events sparked an immense enthusiasm and admiration for both the creative and technical elements of live portraiture. Over the years, with much hard work (and a dash of being at the right place at the right time) I have grown from shooting locals in tiny venues to vast arenas. I currently represent DJ Times magazine and have been focusing on the electronic music subculture, photographing world renounced artists such as David Guetta, Tiesto, and Skrillex.
The greatest challenge I face with performance portraiture is differentiating myself from the slew of competition in the marketplace. When everyone else is zigging, I have to zag. I've spent years in the photo pit, not only snapping pictures - but studying the practices of competitors. Eventually, the best tactic I've come up with: be bold. When a publisher is looking through 500 shots taken from side stag or 300 tight-cropped zooms, and then there's one image where the photographer held their wide-angle lens right up in the guitarist's face to grab a stellar shot -- who has the breakaway photo? If you have a brazen personality, show it in your work. The daring images will emerge as winners. With great risk comes great reward.
Pen in hand
While I am quite passionate about photography, I consider it passive activism. My true creative expression comes from illustration. I began drawing at the age of four, finding inspiration in daytime cartoons and commercial advertisements. Today, I continue to practice with pen and ink, spotlighting visionary surrealism and psychedelia. My illustrations have been displayed in contemporary galleries, sold at music festivals, and tattooed on strangers.
My current collection of works (mixed throughout my illustration portfolio) aims at visually representing my stream of consciousness. I begin by subconsciously putting pen to paper until I see an element that can begin to take form as a certain animal. Once an animal is in mind, I exercise convergent thinking processes in seeking out a man-made appliance that goes hand-in-hand with the species. Convergent thinking, a large aspect of creativity, is thought to be greatly affected by the unconscious.The term is defined as the ability to construct associations between dissimilar ideas. By means of unconscious autonomic processing, the human brain manages to simultaneously generate an ample amount of mental representations and establishes associations between unrelated concepts. I try to create art where the elements of my drawings have a train of continuity and a sense of movement from one idea to the next. Details of the works are pieced together in a meaningful fashion that is novel and unprecedented. For example, in 'Sewing MaRooster', the rooster and sewing machine were chosen as a hybrid since they both share a pecking motion. In 'Tazmanian Blender', both elements are associated with a tornado-like spinning quality.
Staring at the screen
While I have always loved to draw, it has been a constant struggle to attain the realism I strive for. In my Freshman year of college, I discovered the potentials of Photoshop. In the world of digital design, I realized that I could render my surrealist dreamscapes with a photorealistic feel. While photo-manipulation sparked my fascination with graphic design, the attraction grew when I began to dabble with typography, advertising design, and vector art. My current graphics project involves creating a t-shirt series for Grammy award winning recording artist, Ani DiFranco.
My portfolio presents my active contributions to this world. Take a gander.