CONTINENTAL GIN BUILDING
48" x 72"
"Upon moving my studio from the Design District to the Continental Gin Company building, I knew I wanted to paint a piece that spotlights the significant history of the building, and celebrate its longevity. Not only for the artists that have called this building their studio home for over 25 years, but for the city of Dallas as a whole. A structure that is still standing with integrity and in working operation for over 130 years is absolutely incredible and quite rare for a town like Dallas. Developers in Dallas are constantly building complexes and shopping centers at a rapid rate and at the fate of historical buildings. While living in Charleston, South Carolina I became part of a culture where residents and city officials take historic preservation very seriously and consider it to be an asset to the development of the future. I have always respected that mindset, and this is something I would like to see our city embrace more. This piece to me perfectly represents who I am as an artist: I bring old historical facts and stories to present day, highlight their significance, and present them ascetically to engage a broad audience while honoring the truth.
With that being said, creating a piece that speaks about the history of the 19th century American south was very challenging for me, especially depicting something about the cotton industry. It’s a very sensitive subject matter and one that personally breaks my heart. As horrible as that time was (and we still see the same suffering today), it is part of our history, and I feel we should advocate for the truth even how painful it is to relive. The crimson wash used as the backdrop of the ad is to tell that tragic part of the narrative and to not forget the blood that was lost during this era and the pain and abuse endured by slaves.
It is my utmost hope that we continue to honor our past, respect historic craftsmanship and innovation, and most importantly, advocate for the injustices of our society in how ever we choose to use our voice to do so. For me it is art."
It's not about where you have been,
but where you are soaring.
Ashley Stillwell is a professional artist and entrepreneur based in Dallas, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from The University of Texas at Austin and a Graduate Certificate in Arts Management from the College of Charleston. Inspired and intrigued by 18th and 19th-century eras since childhood, Ashley enjoys creating works of art depicting romance and the charm of times past with pop culture influences.