We had the good fortune of connecting with Ash (Mc) McNamara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ash, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks is an open ended opportunity to fail. Failure presents the opportunity to learn. Many of my creative commissions have been outside of my skill set and taking these risks has provided me with the ability to expand my horizons and sharpen my skill set. I strive to only learn hard lessons once. Keeping this mindset means taking risks can only result in success or learned lessons, never failure.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Having the privilege to focus on my art has provided me with a depth of mental and emotional stability; this fulfillment is ultimately what has kept me motivated. I’ve had an interest in creative avenues starting at a young age. I developed a serious interest in the career aspect when learning about Graphic Design in high school. Being a college dropout three times over the traditional graphic design journey seemed unlikely. Like most folk I ended up waiting tables (moodily) and placed my creative interest on the back burner. After nearly 10 years in the service industry I off and on sought out creative opportunity. I spent a long period of my life reveling in the void of purpose while subconsciously knowing I was ignoring my calling. Taking a specific interest in hand lettering helped me establish my work in a category that was unique to my environment. Once I gained traction in this niche art form I began receiving community recognition and creative commissions that often felt outside of my skill set at the time. Taking on projects that felt challenging to me has kept me hungry and interested. Learning new skill sets for project commissions has activated my passion for improving. I started with hand drawing menu boards which led to hand painting larger signs which led to the recent completion of my first large scale mural (all over the course of 3 years). The drive to expand my experience level has kept me busy.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My time spent in ATL has been so brief thus far but meaningful. Cabbage Town was striking to me with the display of what seems like an endless lane of murals painted by locals. The many works curated by LivingWalls ATL can be seen here. The impact of pedestrian artwork, freshly emptied spray cans and wet paint can be vividly experienced throughout the city. Time spent on the belt line embodies a sense of community movement . A smooth safe lane for walkers, bikers and skaters alike. A flow not unlike the human body; veins; blood streams; all doing their own thing yet somehow connected and flowing as a unit. As a chicken wing connoisseur of sorts, I gotta recommend J.R. Crickets. You can never go wrong with lemon pepper.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The city of Lafayette, LA has deeply contributed to my creative origin story. Although I am a Louisiana native I am not originally from Lafayette but I did spend 6 years of my adult life in that city. In the heart of Cajun Country, I struggled as a student, aspiring creative and moody full time server in many local restaurants. While serving at one local favorite restaurant in particular, Pop’s Poboys, I slowly but surely sought small creative opportunities in the restaurant with hand lettering by customizing their menu boards. Having been granted free creative range with this project over the course of 3 years benefited my skill set tremendously. My menu and lettering work started gaining traction and admirers from locals which led to other creative opportunities. Lafayette is a uniquely creatively charged city that proudly supports it’s locally owned businesses and artists. Even when I have not lived there serval local businesses have hired me for painting and lettering jobs that have boosted my creative career and provided me with the ability to go full time with my endeavors.