Eve Ashcraft has consulted with designers, architects, private clients, and businesses on colors for 18 years regarding everything from interiors, exteriors, and corporate branding to paint lines and knitting yarn. A painter by training with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Ashcraft approaches color with an artist’s eye coupled with a keen sense of light and context. Contributing writer Nancy Cost interviews this month’s Guest Curator, Eve Ashcraft.
When did you first discover you had a special knack for color?
At age 5, when I became obsessed with organizing my crayons by color families and then by how each family looked next to the other – blues next to yellows, yellows next to greens, etc.
How did you become a color expert?
I love painting things – walls, objects, paintings. I’ve been painting things for my entire life, so I suppose after a certain number of hours logged I became and “expert”.
If you were a color what would you be?
Gray, with smaller, happy accent colors.
Is there a color that you simply cannot stand?
The wrong color. Any color that’s been forced to make something ugly.
What are the top 5 colors du jour?
White, bright yellow, bright blue, white again, and wood brown.
What are your thoughts about white walls?
I work with white everyday. White works beautifully in many spaces but it’s not as benign as people think. It can be empty and leave a room with a blank look. I feel no allegiance to having to use white behind art. I love color behind art when it works. I always caution people to question white before they cave in.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned that applies to your work?
Keep an open mind that is stoked with curiosity and always look, look, look at everything.
Is there a color that is universally good for displaying artwork?
Universal? No. I don’t think there’s a universally good color for anything that I haven’t seen. It’s always about context and light conditions.
What is the most common angst you hear from clients about color in their homes?
Fear of getting it wrong. It’s as if they are concerned that once a color gets in, it won’t leave, no matter how unwanted it is. People really love color but are often so overwhelmed by the choices and process of selecting that they end up with some dull, off-white color that they actually cannot stand.
Is there a color that is particularly tricky or hard to choose?
Finding the right white can drive some people crazy because there are so many subtle variations. Very pale colors like pale yellow or blue can be difficult because they often look much, much more colorful in a larger scale.
How often do you paint a new color in your home?
Probably about 5 or 6 times a year.
What was the first piece of art you bought?
I bought a photograph from a fellow RISD student in 1983. I still love it.
Have you ever purchased artwork on line?
What’s hanging on your walls at home?
Tons of things. Some of my own paintings and drawings, photos, drawings by friends, and artwork purchased on-line.
What’s the last thing you scribbled on a paper napkin?
An idea for a sofa thing that I want to build – and paint – for my apartment.
What would our readers be surprised to know about you?
I’ll have to save that for the next interview!