Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Bergeron.
Hi Ashley, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
As a young girl, I played in the forest, collecting tadpoles and raising frogs. I was fascinated by the details of life, noticing expressions and emotions in people and animals. I started photographing my dog Ginger, dressing her up in costumes, and using my polaroid camera to document our fashion successes! Everywhere I went I had a camera in my hand, photographing my life experiences along the way.
Fast forward to college and there was no question that I would study photography. Learning the ins and outs of the technical side of photography, honing my perspective and style as a photographer, I started creating authentic portraits. After freelancing as an assistant for some of the top photographers in the world, I took a brave step to become a full-time photographer.
Wanting to be a big fish in a small pond, I left Atlanta for Nashville in 2001, at the time a growing town with big potential. I wanted to offer a different style of photography that reflected my authentic visual voice. I had the privilege of documenting families from pregnancy to college. Being named the #1 Portrait Photographer for 10 years was an honor I will always be proud of. I opened a second photography studio for women, helping build their confidence with a supermodel photoshoot experience, we laughed and cried together, shared stories about our own body image struggles, celebrated milestones, and surprised significant others.
Over the years I volunteered with many great organizations, and started a mural program with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, connecting creatives to the business community for mutual exposure through art. These public and private collaborations enrich our community by showing that creatives can transform a city, one window, one wall, one block at a time.
Through facilitating these murals, I saw how many artists didn’t know how to value, promote and sell their work. I observed how the business world was quite separate from the creative community and I knew I had a bigger purpose ahead. I wanted to provide a platform for creatives to grow into thriving artists so I converted my downtown photography studio to a gallery naming it The Studio 208, representing all levels of talent That first year was lean, full of lessons, tears, laughter, and late-night pop-up dance parties!
On Christmas Day 2020, during COVID, my neighborhood, my home, and my gallery were bombed. Saying these word brings up an emotion in me that I am not sure how to quantify just yet. With that sadness and terror, came a surprise gift of a prime retail space to help us get back on our feet. In March 2021 I opened a 2000 sf gallery space in the heart of the busiest street in Nashville at 5th + Broadway. It was a whirlwind experience that gave me hope, experience, more amazing clients, and a connectivity to the creative community that will be rewarding for years to come.
I was able to see the art business through a unique lens and realized early on that change was upon us. Artists outnumber galleries and art isn’t selling quick enough. I saw that if artists are going to thrive, we are going to have to find a way to engage the next generation of collectors. Noticing how we have grown into a subscription-based society and new digital platforms for online art sales were growing, I had an idea for an interception of art and technology. Currently, the new platform is being built with projections of national and international connectivity of artists and art lovers. By connecting my love of art and desire for creative place-making we facilitate art installations, bringing the gift of art inside and outside of our walls.
In my spare time, I play in the forest, swim in the lake, notice the details of life and of course, I have my camera in tow.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Since I was young, a line from Robert Frost’s poem echoed in my head “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” I even painted the quote (my only mural) on my dorm room wall to remind myself. With that mantra, I have learned to embrace the struggles and road bumps, looking at them as branches of my growth and the gift of free will. Sure, I have cried, lived lean, and wondered why things were happening the way they were. Each time I fell, I got back up stronger and wiser than before. I have one thing to name that was my biggest struggle, and that was believing in myself. Worthiness and confidence were not a part of my internal story and I was harder on myself than I care to share. Through personal work, meditation, and self-care, I overcame those negative beliefs and I am now getting out of my own way! I can finally see I am on the right path, albeit less traveled, and I am ready for whatever is ahead.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Swipe Right Art was born from a disaster, a bittersweet gift that brought a level of growth and success to me, our team, and our artists. We are an art gallery incubator for early to mid-level artists to thrive and gain brand awareness through retail and online exposure. What sets us apart from others is we have a no-pressure, come as you are, ask questions and browse as long as you like space. We know that art is full of energy and when the right guest responds to the right piece, it’s a match! We love to celebrate and validate the experience which brings guests back over and over again. I am most proud of our team who thrives on community and connection and we aim to continue this all-are-welcome environment moving forward. Renovations on our former gallery space, The Studio 208, are underway and we will be welcoming guests by January 2022. In the meantime, feel free to give me a call and we can set up studio visits so you can see the work of our thriving local artists. 615-243-6642
We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
I’m most fond of my memories in the forest, carving out pathways in the woods behind my house, creating “resting and snack” spots and being under the canopy of the trees. I loved making mud pies, catching fireflies, and picking up rolly pollies. When I went to the neighborhood lake, I would lay on my belly for hours fishing for tadpoles that would eventually be frogs that I would name and raise in my garage. During that time, I developed a deep love of nature that continues to bring me joy today.
- 208 smalls wall offers 12×12 paintings for $208 in honor of The Studio 208 – Proceeds are helping us rebuild.
- We have artwork priced at $111 and up
- Email: Office@swiperight.art
- Website: www.swiperight.art
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/swiperight.art/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SwipeRightArt/
Swipe Right Art