“I love LA, I love California. I love the history behind it, the palm trees, the sky, the convertibles,” says art director and illustrator Ashkahn of his city and its influence on his work. “The feeling of it; it’s really romantic to me.” Romantic, sure, but never sentimental. Beginning today, that native California breeziness will be on display at New York’s American Two Shot as part of a collaborative show, “Nevermind,” with artist-designer Baron Von Fancy. Limited prints and new personal work, like summer-themed beer cozies with drinking quotes from the likes of Bukowski, will debut.
Ashkahn’s easygoing designs and keen interest in usable products—tote bags, T-shirts, a middle finger-shaped coat hanger, greeting cards with rascally winks to love and friendship—make for art that is readily shared and candid.
He compares his art to pop songs—immediate, emotional, and catchy, if not a bit naughty. Some past work includes a “Happy Holidays” card, available for purchase on his website, in which a snowman’s carrot nose is placed below the waist. Or an HB pencil, the kind we once used as kids in class, which reads “We Don’t Need No Education.”
Good humored fun inspired by artists like Richard Prince, Julian Schnabel, and Lawrence Weiner, Ashkahn’s work is filled with a vitality that is at once unfussy yet lingers like an inside joke. “I’m hoping to create a little world of my own, a school of thought. I try and create things that will be here for a really long time.”