Artist Spotlight: Asher Benson Talks Rudicorn Series & Learning to Speak Up!

Where are you from / currently live?

AB: I’m from Wilmington, DE and I currently live in Laveen, AZ

Could you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…) we just need a couple sentences, doesn’t have to be full bio. 

AB: I always loved art and grew up in a household that didn’t hold me back from it. I was fortunate. I went to Cab Calloway School of Art in Wilmington, DE and then went on to Delaware College of Art and Design, and finished my Fine Art Bachelors degree at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. I’m currently in school for a Master in Toy Design. 

Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.

AB: I was relentless with Mattel, and finally was given the chance to take the test for Monster High some years ago. This really showed me the level of organization they required from their artists, and helped to make transitioning between various companies easier. I’ve worked on Polly Pocket and Disney Princess concept work for Hasbro, and Hairdorables rendering is my most recent work for Just Play. There are others, but I think these shaped my process the most.

Is it challenging to find your personal identity as an artist?

AB: It is extremely difficult. Most people feel they have to relate to something or put your work into a category they’re familiar with in order to approach you at conventions. And perspective clients, seem to also put you into one category. I can say that years ago, I was turned down for work from Hasbro, because someone on the team thought my work was too “edgy”. Sometimes you have to speak up, and other times, you just have to simply smile and nod.

What do you find is your biggest struggle as an artist?

AB: One of my biggest struggles is finding a platform for my work. Living in Arizona, I’m not very close to many conventions or areas where I can show what I can do all year round. I’ve also attempted to try for jobs that I would absolutely love, but they’re out of state, and no  matter how willing you are to move quickly, they’ll usually pick the person local to the area around them.

I’m not someone who can take that leap of faith and just hope that a position comes around in order to pay my bills, so I do the best I can to travel out of state to platforms where I can reach new groups of people.

What is the inspiration behind your “Rudicorn” series?

AB: I think my inspiration behind the Rudicorns, is that I’ve always tried to be as pleasant and understanding as I can when conversing with anyone, but I also find that there are ones that take advantage of it.  In “polite society”, you still have to get along with everyone, even if you’re annoyed about something and you just want to give them a piece of your mind.

This was an outlet for me to be snarky and to just let some of those frustrations go. I tried to come up with a set of unicorns at the time that were the all around kind and filled with love types, but the longer I looked at them…I really wondered if that’s how they’d act. I said to myself at 3am…”You wouldn’t be kind. You’d be awful…pretty awful!!” And tagline was born along with my Rudicorns brand.

Have you ever experienced self doubt or lack of confidence as an artist?  If so, how do you overcome it?

AB: That’s my constant. I’m always second guessing myself and the decisions I make, and to be brutally honest, I’m my worst critic! But I know that I can be as weepy and sad about circumstances, but I can’t stop moving forward. Even at my worst, I gave myself a few days to attend my pity party, and then I burned that place down to the ground as I left. If I stay in my disappointment, and self loathing, what gets done?! Who will fight my fights for me? Does anything ever change if I refuse to change? I

n order to get some of that negativity out of my head, I keep busy….VERY busy. I plan the next project, maybe several. I plan for my next convention, or I apply for that job I really want, I just throw as many well placed balls in the air as possible that I know…and that’s the key…know that I can handle when they all start coming down. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Do you think it is common or artistic types of people to experience self doubt?

AB: I think anyone experiences self doubt at some time in their lives. If they say they haven’t, then they’d be lying. It’s normal. You want to have the best possible outcome, but there’s no cheat sheet to life, so some of those decisions and outcomes are going to be hard on you.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

AB: Yes, I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I started out wanting to be an animator, which is why I have a Fine Arts degree in Animation, but I quickly found my love in concept designs and I was fortunate to have family that supported my ambition and goals.

Is there a type of art that you‘ve always wanted to learn? 

AB: I always wanted to learn 3D imagery. I’m in school partially because of that now.

Who is the most influential woman artist for you?

AB: Honestly my biggest influence is my mother. She used to draw and still likes to joke that I “sucked it out of her”, but those little doodles she used to do for me where significant and irreplaceable parts of my childhood.

You don’t have to be the most talented, or the top artist of your field to be influential. It’s how you carry yourself, the care you show in your work, and how you develop relationships with others around you. Even making my favorite Disney princess, I don’t think she truly understood how that shaped my path. So, thanks Kathy. You’re my biggest influence and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?

AB: Stop apologizing and speak up!

I struggle with this, and never realized how many times I’ve said, “I’m sorry” to people I’ve done nothing to… I’ve even said I’m sorry to inanimate objects! It was built into me, and I feel like this makes me come off as shy and more easier to push around. I never raised my voice as a kid, and this followed me through high school and college.

It still hinders me at work, and I find that I have to exert extra effort to be heard because again, it was a habit I learned to commit to when I was little. You don’t have to fade into the background, you’re allowed to have a voice and you’re allowed to reach for the same goals as everyone else around you. So speak up and stop apologizing for going for what you want.

Thanks Asher for bringing up some really good points! Please show her some love in the comment section below!

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have to use extra energy to make yourself heard?

Speaking up for yourself as an Artist and as a woman in the professional world can be challenging for some.

If you find that a habit of not speaking up is causing you to experience negative interactions professionally; like being undermined or ignored and therefore are not being respected. Don’t be afraid to take the time to find ways or seek help for overcoming habits that you feel are not helping you advance in your personal life, career, and abilities.

Remember that confidence comes with strong actions! It’s okay to naturally be a quiet or reserved person, but in the end the amount of work that you put into a project should demonstrate your strengths and abilities.

Once you find your voice, don’t be afraid to use it and show people that you are a boss babe that is confident in your abilities and deserve respect and recognition for your hard work!

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