ASHLEY TREJO

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?

My name is Ashley Trejo, I am 26 years old and I am a digital photographer. I consider myself an artist all around, dabbling in mixed media and learning about new ways to express yourself as an artist. For the most part however, digital photography is where I stay.  

WHEN AND HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START AS AN ARTIST?

When I was younger, my uncle was a photographer and I took interest in it. I started to fiddle around with tiny point-and-shoot cameras, I would obsess over details and do mock photoshoots with my siblings. In 2011, I began my journey to becoming an artist by attending and graduating from The Art Institute with a BA in Digital Photography. I believe it was then that I truly got the drive and ambition to do this for life, to launch myself into becoming an artist. I have always known I wasn't meant for a 9-5 job that I wouldn't like, I never wanted my life to become a routine and dreading the next day. Art is my way of escaping that.

DESCRIBE YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS BEHIND YOUR WORK. WHY ABANDONED BUILDINGS?

It all started with a project for two different classes. I remember walking around wondering what to shoot and recognizing that there were so many buildings that were empty and falling apart, it was such a shame that no one else took care of our city and its well being. This sparked the idea of my series. I started to travel around North Hollywood, Ventura, Van Nuys, L.A., basically anywhere I could think of where I find buildings. I wanted to show them as "missing parts" or "missing pieces" from society. The abandoned buildings with the glitches symbolize how the two things are missing parts from society. We build this huge wonderful things and then they're left vacant only to fall apart. The glitch in the photo are the pieces missing from the building. It shows that something's wrong and needs to be fixed.

DOES YOUR WORK REFLECT ANY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES?

I think in many ways it does. I grew up in a broken household. Who hasn't? I think the glitch might represent what's missing from my life. I think maybe that's what drives me to these buildings and makes me continue this series.

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

I have so much inspiration one day and none the next, I'm honestly a mess! I'm not sure if there's one thing or person that pinpoints my inspiration, honestly. Yet, I do believe if I didn't have the support system I had during my journey to becoming a photographer, I would never be the type of artist I am today. I have a really great strong team behind me and I'm truly thankful for that.

WHAT ABOUT DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY DO YOU LOVE?

Digital Photography tells a story, no matter what you shoot. There’s a story in every single image and that’s so beautiful. Whether it be a wedding or a portrait or a fine art piece; stories are everywhere. I love that digital photography allows you to be as expressive as you want and it's something that you see as beautiful. When you're the photographer, you capture what you see. You're telling your own story.

HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED WORKING WITH FILM?  

Yes! I mean I kind of already have but large format film is massively different from regular film. I've always wanted a pentax film camera and learn how to manually expose and develop in a dark room. I'm sad that this wasn't available for me to learn at school, but it didn't fit in with the digital aspect of our program. Film is a dying art, an expensive dying art. I've definitely considered working with film at several points in my journey but overall, I'm not sure fo the market for it.

WHAT DO YOU ASPIRE TO DO WITH YOUR WORK?

It's been a huge dream to open my own business or gallery to show these pieces. I want to print them as big as they can get and put them on display. I was just featured in a gallery not too long ago and it was my first show, that was majorly exciting. It was honestly a huge accomplishment.

WHERE HAVE YOU FEATURED YOUR WORK?

Other than ArtMuzeo, I was also featured at Resin Studio in Hermosa Beach, California.

DESCRIBE THE ART SCENE IN LONG BEACH. ANY GALLERIES OR SHOWS YOU WOULD SUGGEST WE VISIT OR ATTEND?

Living in Long Beach gets me so excited to do more pieces. The art scene in this city is crazy! Everyone has talent; it's intimidating at first. But once you know that you're just like everyone else, it's comforting. I have yet to attend anything here yet, but I know the LB Art Walk is always a great place to go. I really want to check out the Museum Of Latin American Art too!

WHO IS/ARE YOUR FAVORITE ARTIST/S?

I have so many favorites that are completely unrelated to my field or art...I really enjoy Chip Zdarsky's comic art and Scott Snyder. Chip Zdarsky's comic style is really fun and colorful. I've made a couple paintings inspired by his work and I think that's what awakened my use for color. Scott Snyder on the other hand, is a writer for comics. Everything I've read by him has me so engulfed in his stories and how perfectly surreal they are. Photography wise, I have always been a fan of Annie Leibovitz. I've always wanted to photograph celebrities, that's where the party is! Her style is so unique to her name. If I can aspire to be like Leibovitz alone, I will quit my day job now.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

Lately I have been photographing a bunch of weddings. I honestly love the atmosphere so much -  one big day of celebration. To be able to capture someone else's important day and be there for such a big moment is honestly amazing. I have also been working on some new glitch pieces from a road trip to Arizona last year, some of which are already out on display.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOU?

I will definitely be booking weddings in the next year, it's something that I love being a part of. Other than that I will be continuing these glitched photos and try to expand them in different ways. I plan to be in more exhibitions this coming year with Resin and hopefully other studios that come my way. More importantly, I want to truly push my photography and see where it goes.

Tammie Valer