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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

Ashley Addair is a visual artist in Knoxville, TN.  Her medium is acrylic, and her work can be described (by Levon) as referencing figurative realities amidst color field with patterned abstractions that attempt motif.  She is a modern dancer and holds track and field records in the state of Illinois.  She tells one joke every year at Christmas.  If she weren’t a painter she would be a scientist.  Ashley’s paintings have been collected in Italy, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the throughout the U.S.  Her favorite color is yellow ochre neon mustard.  Her favorite painter is the perhaps ambiguous abstractionist, Monique Prieto.



Born to a ballsy moto cross racer and a beautiful trailer park gypsy, each right out of high school, we lived in a van while following Dad’s race circuit until my brother was born.  Upon his arrival we settled in a double wide nicknamed “the brown house” at the foot of my grandmother’s hill.  For several years, and every childhood summer after we moved, my brother and I ran barefoot with a dozen or so cousins building forts, riding bikes, and catching crawdads in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

After our parents divorced, Mom, my brother, and I went to live in Virginia Beach.  We moved at least once a year but we always stayed near the water.  Brokenness hung around, but we grew and healed and smelled salt water.

We moved again, and I went to high school in a suburb of Chicago: white collar and wealthy.  We stayed culture-shocked and cold for a full year but found our warmth in a few sturdy Midwesterners.

I decided to go to college in Lexington, Kentucky because I wanted to escape the fate of so many college women: to find a suitor and marry him happily ever after.   I thought for certain I wouldn’t find that in central Kentucky.

That was the year I would meet Levon and drop out of college.

photo by Justin Wright

photo by Justin Wright

He was charming and handsome and we decided there wasn’t any sense in having separate life adventures any longer.  Two months after he graduated we were married.  No plan, no money, and a bad honeymoon later we landed in Madisonville, Kentucky where he bill collected and I attended community college.  Not the adventure either of us had in mind.  We moved to Nashville.  Then Knoxville.  Levon worked a dozen or more desk jobs while I finished an English degree and half of a Masters in Education.  In the duration of this blog we moved again from Knoxville to New York City to Grace Acres Farm to Virginia Beach to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico.  All to find that actually, we really like Knoxville.

During our Brooklyn stay I saw a graffiti slogan.  In blood red paint it read, “You are not your neighborhood.”  I think I understand that the author was reminding us that our worth isn’t measured by the status of our surroundings but I don’t think we can easily separate ourselves from the places and communities we inhabit.

Moving around and seeing things has given me a healthy dose of audacity.  There are many ways to live a life; and so I’m trying out a version of my own.


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