Knoxville, TN | Printmaking, Drawing
Ashton Ludden is a printmaker, educator and sign artist. She received her MFA in Printmaking from the University of Tennessee in 2013 and her BFA in Engraving Arts and Printmaking from Emporia State University in 2009. Ludden’s works have been exhibited nationally and internationally as well as at conferences such as the 2012 Animals, Ethics & Law Symposium and the 2013 International Veterinary Social Work Summit with keynote speaker Dr. Temple Grandin. She was an artist-in-residence at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, Poland in May 2012. Ludden was awarded the 2013 Frogman’s Graduate Scholarship Fellowship and the 2013 Emporia State University Liberal Arts & Sciences Outstanding Recent Graduate Award.
Most recently, she was invited to exhibit her work in Seattle’s Davidson Galleries in a group show titled “A Curious Beastiary: Chimeras & Cryptozoology from American Printmakers” and participated in the invitational 2016 Pentaculum Artist Residency for sign painting.
She has taught print and book workshops at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and Knoxville’s Community School of the Arts. She is currently an active artist member of the Vacuum Shop Studios Collaborative and the sign artist for Trader Joe's in Knoxville, TN.
Through meticulously engraved, narrative images, my prints initiate a conversation about humans’ relationship to animals. Whether we see a specie as a companion, a tool, a source of entertainment, food, a nuisance, or wildly majestic, the value we place on subordinate beings acts as a reflection of our own complex, often irrational and contradicting behaviors and ethics.
I choose the medium of printmaking not only for its unique aesthetic qualities, such as the engraved line or a fine rosin aquatint, but also for its ability to create multiples. Disposables are deemed as such because accessible copies or substitutes exist as replacements. Just as printmakers must wrestle with the value of the multiple, so too do we confront this issue when dealing with animals regarded alternately as living commodities. Our egotism has us believe that we, members of the human race, are all unique beings, superior to objects and non-human animals. My work investigates how we determine and also justify what is considered a unique individual versus a disposable copy.
Previously, my work focused on food and companion animals through the imaginary and absurd narrative of the Meatimal™. Most recently, I have looked to our relationship to wildlife, depicting images of both urban and exotic animals accompanied with objectifying, advertising text presenting the existence of wildlife in our world of consumerism.