April 2023: Ashley Gerst


Artist of the Month     >    2023 Artists


NAME: Ashley Gerst
LOCATION: Stony Point, NY
ORIGIN: Cleveland, Ohio
ART: Animation: 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Stop-Motion
MAIN GENRE: Magical Realism, Narrative Fiction, Experimental Animation
TRAINING: Cleveland Institute of Art, School of Visual Arts
ARTS AFFILIATIONS: ASIFA East, Rockland Arts Council, Women in Animation – NYC Chapter, The Artists Forum

BIO: Ashley Gerst is a 2D, 3D and motion graphics animator living in Stony Point, NY. She is an Assistant Professor of Animation and Game Design at William Paterson University, an adjunct faculty member at School of Visual Arts and a co-lead for Women in Animation’s NYC Chapter. In addition to these roles, Ashley freelances with several studios in the Greater NYC Area and has worked for clients such as Nissan, American Express, JBL, Red Bull and more. She is an independent filmmaker. Her most recent animated film is The Spirit Seam (2019). A stalwart advocate for the arts, Ashley also donates her time as a juror for The Artists Forum Festival of the Moving Image.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: The Spirit Seam (2019) was screened in over 100 film festivals and won over 25 awards during its festival run including Best Animated Short in The Artists Forum Festival of the Moving Image: 2019. Ashley has also animated the title sequences for two feature films: The Con is On (2018) and Can You Keep a Secret? (2019).

LATEST WORKS: Ashley is currently working on her next two films: Being Pushed Down by Shadow (2025) and Sundays (2023). Both films will combine a mixture of 2D animation, 3D animation, and stop motion.

WORK SAMPLES: The Spirit Seam (2019), Ashley Gerst’s Summer 2020 Demo Reel (2020), 4th of July Fireworks for Being Pushed Down by Shadow (2023), and Being Pushed Down by Shadow Test Animation (2022).


Please describe your artistic themes
My animated films tell a fictional narrative told visually through composited collage. Each film is inspired by difficult events in my life and is infused with magical realism and elements of horror to create a story that aches with nostalgia, loss and remembrance. To complete this feeling, each film combines a mixture of digital and traditional mediums.

Please describe your creative process
When it comes to creating my animations, I never want to tell myself no. That’s what clients are for. So, when I am making my own work, I like to find creative ways to combine my favorite things: sculpture, knitting, 2D animated water, and anything else that I find exciting at that time. 

What are your artistic goals? What do you need to achieve them?
To keep making animated films with a mixture of media. My biggest obstacle, until recently, was space! I completed The Spirit Seam (2019) while still living in NYC – meaning I was in a very small apartment and had two curious cats that liked to make off with set pieces. Now I have the space to work on any scale for my set creation.

What are your views on the industry?
I have seen some wonderful changes in the industry in the last few years: outreach for the issues within the VFX industry, the bravery of speaking out about sexual harassment in the film/animation industry, and the formation of several animation unions to help speak for the artists. I have great optimism for where things are going – it is about time.

What advice would you give to emerging artists?
Being productive also means practicing self care. Finding what that means for you and making sure to practice it is very important to your success.

WEBSITE: ashleygerst.com
FACEBOOK: The Spirit Seam
INSTAGRAM: @gerstburst
TWITTER: @gerstburst
VIMEO: ashley gerst

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