Artist Ashley Longshore Gets Personal About Diamonds
The pop art polymath-turned-designer also has a killer jewelry collection.By Lynn Yaeger |
When the artist Ashley Longshore greets me for our interview, the fringe is flying! Her dress shimmies and shakes, her diamonds glitter and gleam, and her personality is as huge and welcoming as her jewelry is dazzling.
Longshore, a renowned painter, sculptor and designer, is a pop art polymath. Her work—frequently decorated with cheerfully profane slogans—has graced everything from handbags to aprons, coloring books to candy dishes, and has made her what the The New York Times calls an “avatar of pop feminism to thousands of followers.”
She is an author as well: in 2017 she released her book You Don’t Look Fat, You Look Crazy: An Unapologetic Guide to Being Ambitchous, described as a “tongue-in-cheek guide to living an ‘ambitchous’ life.”
Longshore built her brand on a direct-to-consumer model— “I don’t work with a gallery! There’s a real person here!” she exclaims.
Turns out, that real person is one of the most successful artists of the 21st century. Longshore’s work explores the intersection of culture and consumerism—who else would paint Jesus surrounded by Vuitton bags or Kate Moss dressed as a nun? Longshore has collaborated extensively with Blake Lively, as well as Salma Hayek, Eli Manning and Penelope Cruz. Her work has hung in the windows of Bergdorf Goodman, and she has done projects with companies from Maybelline to Gucci—and the list keeps growing.
How does Longshore mark these professional triumphs? She buys herself diamond jewelry, of course! Here, she tells us all about what’s inside her jewelry box.
How did your diamond jewelry journey begin?
Ashley Longshore: I started buying myself little diamond pinky rings at the beginning of my career, and when my pinkies filled up, I started with diamond bracelets! Today I have 12 on this arm and nine on the other one.
When did you begin designing your own jewelry?
AL: It was 13 years ago. I wanted something very particular—I love art deco, and those old mine-cut diamonds. I work with a lady over in Antwerp. I send her sketches and inspiration images, and she finds the stones and color matches them and sends me videos.
Do you wear your diamonds everywhere?
AL: I believe quirky eccentric artists like me really curate our entire lives. I like to be entertained—putting on jewelry is another layer of Wonder Woman for me. I wear all of this every day! I paint with it—there’s actually paint on the diamonds sometimes—we just scrubbed them with a toothbrush the other day. When I’m out at my farm, I wear pajamas and put my diamonds on.
What is your most sentimental piece of jewelry?
AL: The ring that belonged to my grandma; I’m named after her. She always let me play with it. When I was a little girl, I thought it was the biggest! It’s actually the smallest piece I have, but I think I might add diamonds to it.
What are your most unusual diamonds?
AL: The ones in my teeth! I think I have seven now— I lost some during the pandemic…You wake up during the night and there’s one missing, I’m sure I swallowed it.
What are you dreaming of that you don’t have yet?
AL: I want to have diamond chains that go all the way down to my… I’ve covered my pinkies, I’ve got bracelets up to my elbows—I want to have ropes of diamonds around my neck! Tatiana in Antwerp is working on one for me now—24 inches. The center stone is going to be three carats, that’s what I’m starting with. I want to be able to jump rope with it! It will have emerald cuts and oval cuts; I’m kind of a solitaire girl, I love round, but I’m getting into marquise.
Who are your favorite jewelry designers?
AL: Jared Lehr in Los Angeles—he does magnificent stone work. And Sylvie Corbelin in Paris…and Daniela Villagas. I love her bugs and beetles.
What do you think gives diamonds their special power?
AL: I think their energy comes from all of that pressure. There’s something about this thing being under all that hotness on this rock that we’re on, spinning around a star. A diamond captures that sparkle and that rainbow—it’s enchanting!