I'm Ashley Hayunga, and I am an artist based in Rutland, Vermont. I am originally from the beautiful Hudson valley region of New York, growing up and living there most of my life. My parents recognized that I had a particular talent for drawing from the time I was very young. They often tell a story of when I was a child, and somehow managed to draw a fully detailed rendering of a sailboat: on an Etch-a-sketch. Before I was even in high school, they took me to college portfolio reviews, and signed me up for drawing and painting classes with our local youth arts program called The Art Effect. My instructor there, Todd Poteet, saw my artistic skills as clearly as my parents did, and helped to foster confidence in my own abilities that I had not yet realized. I will forever be grateful to my parents and Todd for believing in me before I believed in myself, and helping to open my eyes so I could finally see for the first time: I am an artist.
I attended art school at the University of Hartford, and graduated in 2014 with my bachelor's degree in illustration and painting. By the time I finished college, I already had my first published children's book out on the market (titled "Jennie Jenkins"), which at the time was the highest honor in my early career. I then went on to teach art to young children for three wonderful summers at The Art Effect. I also instructed some paint and sip events, completed many commissioned illustrations for clients, and ran a personal online business selling my own handmade posable dolls for about six years.
In the middle of all these achievements in my artist career, I also met the love of my life in the most romantic place on earth: Working at a haunted attraction in upstate NY. That's right, it was a match made in Halloween heaven. He had a small farmhouse in southwest Florida, so I took a leap of faith and moved there to be with my love. You may think I'm crazy, but it was the best decision I've ever made. Eight years later, we have experienced so much happiness, recently became a family of three, moved to Vermont on a whim, and are now building our home here together.
Besides painting beautiful works of art in my home studio, the greatest loves of my life are my incredible husband Dan, and our sweet daughter Violet (who we affectionately call "tiny human".) Truth be told- when Violet was born, I felt a brand new spark of inspiration flood over me like I had never felt before in my life. For the first time, I wanted so much more than to make art for my own sake. I want my daughter to see her Momma doing what she loves, so she knows that she can do anything and be anything she wants to be too.
As I wish to always best serve my family, I want to do the same for you and yours as well! Precious moments and special people in our lives should be cherished forever, and as they say: A picture is worth a thousand words. Every time you see your personalized painting from Ashley Hayunga, it will warmly say: Yes. This is love. This is my home, and my heart.
- When I'm not painting in my studio, I can often be found doing farming and gardening work at our SWFL ranch home.
- I am CRAZY about mangoes and growing mango trees (like, seriously... I have a mango problem)
- My husband and I have a dream of moving our family to Hawaii some day. I believe with my whole heart that we will do it!
- My mom's pup Luna is my best fur friend. I love that little dog!
- My entire lifestyle and perspective changed dramatically when I decided to move cross-country- and now Ive done it twice! Escaping from my comfort zone was the best move I ever could have made.