Ashleigh Walters’ Grocery Store Aisles
“My painting and art journey started when I did. My mom jokes I was born with pencil and paper in hand,” said artist Ashleigh Walters. Ashleigh made her way — pencil and paper in hand — to Florida after growing up in California and going to school in Colorado. Her artistic childhood led her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts with an emphasis on painting, along with a Broadcast News Journalism degree. She spent 12 years as a news anchor at WPTV — all of which she spent in front of a canvas when off air — and just recently decided to embrace the next phase in her life by saying goodbye to WPTV.
Armed with acrylic paints and canvas, Ashleigh has been exploring a unique subject matter: grocery store aisles. “I’m often drawn to the places we go and the objects we use in our day-to-day lives. A brand that can be viewed as ordinary or comforting to one person can be seen as exotic or unusual to another. The labels on jars, the signs on buildings, the style of a season’s designer shoe: each of these things reflects what’s important to the person who uses it, and timestamps that specific moment in history,” Ashleigh said.
We love Publix as much as the next Floridian, so we asked Ashleigh to walk us down a few of her aisles. Get your grocery lists ready and grab a shopping cart.
“I started with the canned fish aisle. The shiny shaped cans drew me in, even though I so rarely ate from this section. I found it mildly repulsive, but also intriguing, alluring and odd. The experience of painting it got me hooked.”
“‘Hey, Sugar!’ is all about the baking aisle, a section where most shop out of love. If you’re going to bake a cake from scratch, it’s such a sweet, homey gesture. Painting the Pillsbury Doughboy repeatedly, I could almost hear his little giggle and I started to notice the brand’s choice in his movements. That whole painting launched me to a new place with detail and scale.”
“‘Lettuce Be Grateful’ captures a gorgeous collage of produce. The next time you go into the produce section, scan and you will see how I am: always on the lookout for the perfect layout of fruits and veggies that might be pretty on my next canvas. The textures and colors never disappoint.”
“The orange juice aisle is one I picked up and set down multiple times over a few years, which I will often do with my work, but it came to completion during the pandemic. It seemed the perfect piece to complete during that time, with fully stocked shelves, Florida’s meaningful symbol of oranges, and bottles packed with healthy vitamin C. I auctioned it off and it raised a large sum to feed local families, thanks to some generous art collectors. At a time when I was anchoring from home for six months, switching out the painting behind me every day, that particular painting felt like a perfect fit to benefit our local community at a time when many were struggling.”