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By Zara Flores, for Dana Point Times

Ashley Keene is a local artist whose art is heavily influenced by the picture-perfect sights and sounds of Dana Point. Keene has been doing art for more than a decade and enjoys painting on things other than a traditional canvas, such as skateboards, vinyl records and more.

  1. You’ve been doing art for 12 years. How do you think your style has changed?
  2. I know what I like to paint. I’m really drawn to bright colors, something that really pops. It’s still really similar in terms of style, but I spend so much time on each piece that I feel like I’ve perfected what I do. I’ve also taken art classes to get the hang of the more technical aspects of art, such as color theory. I can identify and pinpoint what I need to mix to get the color I’m picturing.
  3. There’s a lot of ocean imagery in your art. Are you inspired or influenced by your surroundings?
  4. Absolutely! I think I’d be influenced by whatever is around me, whether it’s the ocean or the mountains or the desert. This local area is really inspiring. I like to revamp historic and iconic locations around town, like Killer Dana, into something surreal and colorful. I like creating pieces that are part fantasy and part reality.
  5. What’s an aspect you enjoy and take advantage of in your artwork?
  6. I really love repurposing items. It’s not vital to a painting, but I do enjoy finding old things to use, as opposed to a traditional blank canvas. These items had lives of their own, and there’s a history behind each of them. I have a collection of items I want to work into art and repurpose, such as an old carousel horse and grandfather clock. As far as things I’ve already worked on, there’s skateboards, broken surfboards, broken mirrors and old vinyl records.
  7. What’s the most challenging project you’ve worked on?
  8. I’m currently working on a woodshed in someone’s backyard. The material hasn’t been hard to paint on; it’s the size of the shed that’s proving to be a bit difficult. It’s about 10 feet tall, and I have to paint slowly, a little bit at a time, take a step back and make sure it’s all lining up well and even. It’s challenging but a learning experience.
  9. What do you see as the next step for you?
  10. I want to explore and experiment with other materials like mosaics and wood. I want to paint on wood and utilize the texture and grain to mix with my art, but I have so many ideas and not enough time. Bigger picture, though, I want to do my art full-time. Eventually, I want to be in galleries, but that’s not a huge focus for me right now.

Ashley Keene’s art can be seen, commissioned and purchased at

Editor’s Note: Dana Point Times will be spotlighting artists based in Dana Point or whose work is featured in the community. If you are an artist (musician, painter, sculptor, etc.) whose creativity contributes to the Dana Point community, or if you know of a candidate, contact Lillian Boyd at

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