Ashley Collins is a respected artist whose work is held in a high esteem. Celebrities, foundations and art aficionados collect her art across the country. With an impressive resume of shows and exhibitions, Collins' 25 years of dedication to her work and the success she has achieved never affects her love of humanity and the purpose of art.
"My journey has not been a particularly easy one," Collins said. "I was homeless, I lived in abandoned boats and sometimes on couches of strangers so I could paint. Painting, to me, was bringing love back into the forefront of a world that was desperately so in need of it."
Collins will present an exhibition, "Moments and Bliss" at the Gilman Contemporary gallery on Sun Valley Road in Ketchum on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 5 p.m. The evening will feature music, martinis and opportunities to benefit Camp Rainbow Gold, a local camp for kids diagnosed with cancer. The event, catered by Zou 75 and Judith McQueen Catering, costs $65 per person. Tickets are available at Gilman Contemporary.
The evening celebrates the hope and power of Camp Rainbow Gold, which each summer gives 85 special kids a week of discovery and outdoor fun at Cathedral Pines, north of Ketchum. In addition, Collins has created an original painting, "Courage," for the occasion, with 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the piece to benefit Camp Rainbow Gold.
"Camp Rainbow Gold is such a wonderful concept and creation, that in addition to having the show benefit the organization, I thought it would be fantastic if the kids and families could see a work that included some of their own work and love," Collins said. "Kids sent wonderful things to me, including letters, pictures, news articles, and drawings—each item was a precious gem.
"I took their work and incorporated it into the layering process of one of my paintings so the work is the depth and soul of these wonderful kids, and the amazing people who work at the camp. It is personal to Camp Rainbow Gold, and it even includes the clay bead that is the tradition of the camp."
Collins' work has featured a great deal of horse imagery. Now, Collins said her art is not necessarily about horses, but about an "angel" that appeared in her life, which happened to be a horse named Chief.
"My angel came in the form of a horse, but for each of us it is different," she said. "I paint Chief's love in every work, but not because he was a horse, but because he was one of my angels and guides in life."
Collins said she has always painted what moves her, and in the sizes and scales she wants.
"I simply paint what is guiding me at that moment in time," Collins said.
Collins' work will be on exhibition at Gilman Contemporary through Aug. 31. Collins will be in attendance for Gallery Walk and the opening night of "Moments and Bliss" on Friday, Aug. 7, from 5-8 p.m.
For details, call 726-7585.
Sabina Dana Plasse: firstname.lastname@example.org