Listen : Fresh Air with Terry Gross!

 

On November 4th, 2015, I was able to check a serious bucket list item off my list, that frankly, I had assumed would never be checked off. We were asked by Terry herself to come on to Fresh Air and talk about Do Unto Animals, Tracey's "Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How we can Make Their Lives Better", and the book that I illustrated. This was surreal for me, considering that, as a freelancer, I listen to NPR literally all day, and visit with Terry daily at 2pm. We went to the NPR studio in Manhattan, where we were patched in to Terry in Philadelphia. Hearing her voice through the headphones felt like a dream. A dream where I am listening to Fresh Air, like I do everyday, and suddenly Terry starts talking to me through the radio. I was so nervous, but all the wracked-nerves were worth it! Read Terry's intro below, and click the link to listen to the full show

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"This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest, Tracey Stewart, and her husband, Jon Stewart, who left "The Daily Show," are beginning a new chapter of their lives. They're starting a farm animal sanctuary. Tracey is the one who's obsessed with animals. She's an animal advocate, a former vet tech and has rescued and fostered many animals. And there's more on the way. Tracey has written a new book called "Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide To How Animals Live, And How We Can Make Their Lives Better."

Also joining us is artist Lisel Ashlock, who did the wonderful illustrations of animals in the book. Lisel and Tracey have worked together on several projects, including a cafe called Moomah in Manhattan, which was a neighborhood place for sleep-deprived parents and their children. And they have a Web magazine called Moomah. Tracey Stewart, Lisel Ashlock, welcome to FRESH AIR..."

Listen to the full show >>

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Do Unto Animals // Farm Sanctuary Collaboration!

 

We've collaborated with Farm Sanctuary to create a merchandise collection inspired by  Do Unto Animals! T-shirts, notebooks, tote bags and prints, all custom designed by me featuring illustration from the book, and available exclusively on Farm Sanctuary's online shop!

We couldn't be more excited to see these products come to life! This holiday season, feel good about spreading the Do Unto Animals message and supporting Farm Sanctuary with every gift purchased. 

 

Click on the image to purchase the item on Farm Sanctuary! 

 

 

 
 

The New York Times unleashes Grapes of Wrath on Minnesota

"The New York Times has examined the entire state of Minnesota and said, "You know what evokes your state? A bowl of grapes mixed with sour cream, covered with sugar, and heated up, and then chilled again. That's you. That's how you are." After this, I imagine them laughing, high-fiving, and refilling a glass of chardonnay. We all have our preconceptions, after all." -NPR's Linda Holmes

When the NYT asked me to illustrate 52 dishes for 50 states (plus PR and DC) for their United States of Thanksgiving article, I was thrilled. Who wouldn't want to illustrate the Thanksgiving article for the Food section of one of the most respected publications in the country?  Little did I know that a nationwide internet controversy was lying in wait for this innocent illustrator.  More on that later, in the meantime, a bit about the project:
This project was so much fun! I was given 52 dishes to illustrate the 50 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington DC, to be the full cover feature story of the Times Food Thanksgiving Issue entitled "The United States of Thanksgiving". The Times chose a dish to represent each state- interesting dishes with local ingredients and maybe an accompanying story- that for the NYT, seemed to represent a compelling addition to each state’s Thanksgiving table.  They included each individual recipe both in print and online (a fantastic interactive feature!). Some classic recipes were covered like New York's Double Apple Pie, and Kansas' Candied Sweet Potatoes. Some states' dishes were from regional chefs, or used regional ingredients like Vermont Cheddar Mashed Potatoes or Maine Mac & Cheese. And other states’ recipes were a bit more ...“outside the box”. As Times Food Section editor Julia Moskin later wrote, “The recipes were not intended to be traditional, popular, or fully representative of the state’s traditions — agricultural, Thanksgiving, or culinary,” 

While I was illustrating, I found myself intrigued by some of the dishes- but I didn’t expect any to be major sources of contention. I especially didn't foresee the massive internet firestorm a little something called "Grape Salad" would cause across the state of Minnesota and beyond.  Apparently there are a great many Minnesotans who have never heard of, and would not care to associate themselves with this particular dish- which consists primarily of grapes, nuts, and sour cream, cooked to perfection.  

My first hint of that the middle of our country was about to explode, was when a radio show, My Talk with Colleen & Bradley, in Minneapolis called me to see if I would go on the radio and talk about why I picked Grape Salad for their state. "WTF is up with the Grape Salad??!! We want to know!”, they asked. I quickly set the record straight that I was not the one to choose the dishes, and especially not the Grape Salad. But that was just the beginning. With #grapegate and #embracethegrape going viral on Twitter, the story made the front page of the Star Tribune, picked up by NPR, and the Times has since actually issued a response entitled "A Recipe for Wrath (Grapes Optional) in Minnesota”. The entire Mid-Western state of was (and might still be) totally FREAKING OUT over Grape Salad!!!

As the illustrator on the project, I feel I need to set the record straight, about my role in the project, and about the nature of the project as well.  I was charged with illustrating the dishes provided by the NYT- I did not have anything to do with their selection.  But- while I don't think Grape Salad sounds so enticing, I do want to point out that the NYT article never meant to make any one dish define everything each state’s culinary history has to offer.  I think they just wanted to present a series of compelling dishes from around the country, and I think they did an incredible job of that. Of course I hope we didn’t really offend anyone!  

That said, amidst all this uproar, the Times may have just CREATED a Thanksgiving tradition for some. With all the recent exposure, I wouldn't be surprised if many MANY friends and families have Grape Salad on their tables this Thanksgiving. Who knows, maybe Minnesota will soften their views once they try it themselves? Or maybe not.

 

View This Project in my portfolio >>

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Nativen "Keep Growing" Bandana

 

I've been really eager to try some new ways of working that DON'T involve birch and acrylic and to simplify with just paper and pen. I got that chance when my talented friend Lily Hetzler of Nativen approached me to do a really fun collaboration- a pattern design for her Limited Edition Bandana series to kick off her new beautiful apparel brand. The only direction was just 'pretty flowers', so I happily obliged. This is the result! 

 

These bandanas are designed and produced with the utmost artisan craftsmanship. Made of 100% American-grown / American-made / Organic Cotton. Hand-dyed with natural plant-based dyes, and screenprinted by hand with eco-inks. Featuring flowers, bees, beetles, and a little message to empower your day: "Keep Growing"!... Shop the new bandana at shop.nativenwear.com

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Nativen made this video with my bandana in ACTION!

Taschen's 100 Illustrators Released

“Illustration nerds, it's time to get your geek on… 100 of the most significant illustrators working in the field today.” 
— Huffington Post, New York

Taschen's 100 Illustrators
Curated by Steven Heller

In January of 2013 I was contacted by the team at Taschen asking if I would like to be included in their upcoming publication 100 ILLUSTRATORS. Since 2005 the series Illustration Now! has featured in four volumes 600 illustrators from all around the world. For this special edition, TASCHEN has teamed up with Steve Heller and "selected from this great archive 100 illustrators to crown the best of the series with an impressive publication: 100 ILLUSTRATORS." (I said yes!) 

"Culled from our Illustration Now! series is this selection of today’s most successful and important illustrators from around the globe. In his introduction, Steven Heller fleshes out the challenging process of narrowing down a field of 600 illustrators to a selection of the 100 most significant. The final cut, including artists such as Istvan Banyai, Gary Baseman, Seymour Chwast, Paul Davis, Brad Holland, Mirko Ilić, Anita Kunz, and Christoph Niemann, (and Lisel Ashlock of course) provides a snapshot of the highly dynamic and diverse world of contemporary illustration." 

The full presentation of the book is beautifully bound, two volume hardcover in slipcase. I was stunned and honored to be chosen by Steven Heller among the group. Another huge shocker was to see my self portrait right in the center of of the cover!


Seeing my work published is always equal parts exciting, and equal parts nerve wracking, but it was so fun to finally see my spreads. Since this book pulled work from the last eight years of Illustration Now! I was surprised to see an old image- my portrait of Nico! A good mix of new and old were represented. 

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I've been hearing about the legend of Steven Heller since I was in undergrad at CCA. His reputation of being the authority on Illustration and Graphic Design have stuck with me since, so having him write about my work was a real treat!

Here's what he had to say: "Ashlock combines the surreal floral art of Giuseppe Arcimboldo with the post-impressionism of Henri Rousseau."

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One of the best surprises when I got my copy of 100 ILLUSTRATORS was opening up to the first page and seeing this: the very familiar face and portrait of the beloved Dugald Stermer. Dugald was my thesis instructor at CCA in 2002, and played an integral role in my journey as an illustrator. Some major discoveries were made that year, and Dugald was my biggest cheerleader, motivator and fan. His encouragement and confidence in my work was profound for me as an illustrator, and he continued to be a huge mentor all the way up to his passing in December of 2011.

I was so touched to see that Editor Julius Weidemann devoted the first paragraph of this entire publication to Dugald himself saying, "... this publication is an homage to him and the many others who are not here with us anymore...These were the legendary ones ... and who not only had a stunning body of work, but also played a significant part in the history of contemporary illustration." I am forever proud to have had the privilege of having Dugald as my teacher, and beyond humbled be among the same pages as my hero and friend. 

  Dugald Stermer, Self Portrait, 1999

Dugald Stermer, Self Portrait, 1999

  More than 100 intro by Julius Weideman

More than 100 intro by Julius Weideman

Some great press about 100 Illustrators:

The Huffington Post :  100 Illustrators You Should Know Right Now >>
Fast Company : Today's Best Living Illustrators >>

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