Young Morton Grove artist shows off talent
Ashley Walker, a student at Loyola, talks Jan. 30 about a painting she did of a friend from Evanston that was killed last year at her home in Morton Grove. | Curtis Lehmkuhl—Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:16AM
At the young age of 17, Ashley Walker already has a list of accomplishments.
The Morton Grove resident, a senior at Loyola Academy, was in the Young Rembrandts program while a student at St. Joan of Arc. She was the only high school student admitted to a college art class last summer at Northwestern University.
Two or three of her works will be displayed this month at the Evanston Art Center.
And Walker has been accepted as an art major, something normally reserved for sophomores, at St. Xavier University and Purdue University.
Walker works in a variety of media, from acrylic paint to graphite pencil and water crayon. So far, she said, she has mostly done portraits and most of those from photos. One of her goals is to draw live models, something she expects to do at college.
Though she hasn’t decided yet where she’ll attend, Walker is planning to major in art and minor in pre-med. Her ultimate goal is to become a physician. And with all of that, she has played the piano since age 7.
Q: When did you begin taking an interest in art?
A: I remember even in preschool I made little sketches. I knew even then when I got older I’d end up loving it.
Q: How did you find out you had some real talent?
A: In seventh grade, my teacher would say I was really good at it.
Q: Last year you honored your friend Anton Davis, the 15-year-old Skokie boy who was shot to death in Rogers Park. What prompted that?
A: We played basketball a lot together. He was a really funny person. Two days after he was shot, I drew a portrait of him with the words from the Bible, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they do” and put it on my Facebook page.
Q: What did you learn from the class you took at Northwestern, and what was it like in a class with all college students?
A: Our assignment was to draw one drawing each day. Sometimes I was so excited I would draw two or three a day. It was fun. They were all college students. I was the only high school student. I was a little scared at first. It was fun. They were very nice to me.
Q: What do you see as your future in art?
A: I don’t want it as a full-time career. But I want to improve my ability to draw still-lifes. I haven’t done anything with a live model. I’d like to do that a lot. I’m open to learning different things.
Q: How did the upcoming show at the Evanston Art Center come about?
A: My art teacher at Loyola, every year she tries to get her students in the art show. We go the day it opens on Valentine’s Day to set up. I get to miss a day of school.
Q: How do you see your art talent?
A: I feel it’s a gift. But you also have to work really hard. Basically I’m a kid who has had the opportunity to take advantage of that. I feel I have to work hard to pay back my parents for what they’ve done for me.