Ashley Berkman is a multimedia artist and performer whose works explore the themes of female form, language as a visual medium and found poetry. She is currently investigating the idea of women as both sexual and intellectual beings, and “sexts” as curated self-expression. She has worked in a wide variety of artistic disciplines and seeks to make connections between them. If given the opportunity she will eagerly deliver her dissertation on why Jurassic Park is the best movie ever made. She has lived in Africa, worked at Disneyworld, ridden her bicycle across America, and shares a birthday with Roseanne.
In the third grade my first elementary school hosted a spirit week during which one of the themes was “Crazy Hat Day”. Hats were not allowed at school so this was a big deal. While the other children seized the opportunity to don caps with the emblem of their favorite sports team - or the occasionally Disney themed hat (we did live in southern California after all) - i insisted on creating my own…
I collected ferns from in front of our condo and meticulously scotch taped them to the sides of a red square lego bucket. I put this masterpiece on my head, using the lego bucket handle as a makeshift chin strap, walked to school, and wore it all day, compensating for its heft and the visibility challenges it presented by slightly tilting my chin towards the sky.
I did not come in in third place in the crazy hat day contest. I did not come in in second place in the crazy hat day contest. I did not even place at all in the crazy hat day contest. Which I, at the tender age of nine, knew was complete bullshit. But I got to wear my sculpture on my head all day and that was all that really mattered.
This was the same year that I would be banned from using the watercolors in the classroom after my commitment to a painting of deep sea aquatic life resulted in the destruction of a new orange turtleneck and an enduring stain on the carpet.
This was the same year I almost died when my lungs collapsed watching America’s Funniest home videos.
Twenty years later (29 now and forever) my creative practice has not changed. It’s messy, I work with whatever is around me, and I still have a bad sense of humor.