SPEAK Season 3 Episode 1: Lights, Action, Art

Drawing of a city landscape by Ashley Hiscott.

Season 3 Episode 1: “Lights, Action, Art with Ashley Hiscott”  

fin: I am fin, 


Debbie Ratcliffe: I am Debbie Ratcliffe, a. k. a. The Dragon Lady. 


fin: Welcome to Season 3 of Speak. Speak is a podcast series where artists with developmental disabilities share more about their artwork and stories. 

In this episode, Debbie and I talk with Ashley Hiscott to get to know more about her art and her practices. 

Ashley talks about what inspires her artwork and the importance of sharing her work and stories. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: From small to big to 3d or text Ashley’s creations are bold and shining. 

We asked Ashley to kick off the episode by introducing herself and describe things she likes to create. 


Ashley Hiscott: My name is Ashley Hiscott. I have been making art since I was four years at Being Studio. 

My parents, they taught me how to make my art. There’s paintings and drawings, and I like the markers and crayons and special pens for special drawings.

I like watching the stars at night, my big full moon, flowers, lanterns and churches. Your wedding, cakes, a husband and wife, special wedding, my art is about romance and dreams. 


fin: So, your art is about romance and dreams? 


Ashley Hiscott: Mm hmm. Yep, here he is. 


fin: You said that you like to watch the stars and moon at night? 


Ashley Hiscott: Yeah. 

Yep. That’s why I drew a star, it’s amazing. Big sky there’s special dancing in there. 


fin: Do you think you would want to go to the moon? 


Ashley Hiscott: I do, I do want to go to the moon with Andrew. 


fin: What does your art look like? 


Ashley Hiscott: What does it look like? There is a special beach, it looks like a big bus in New York City. 


fin: What is important about New York City? 


Ashley Hiscott: New York City is important because Broadway. 


fin: Broadway? 


Ashley Hiscott: Mmhmm. 


fin: What do you like about Broadway? 


Ashley Hiscott: There’s watching The Lion King, Mama Mia, and anything else. There are flowers and animals, dogs and cats. There are a bunch of shows about making amazing dresses. 


fin: I asked Ashley more about her artwork and how she approaches each project. Being Studio had one of Ashley’s drawings printed onto a dress, which she is wearing while recording this episode. I asked Ashley how that makes her feel to wear her own designs. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yes, so awesome. I feel great. I feel happy now. Yeah. 


fin: Can you describe this artwork? 


Ashley Hiscott: Okay, let us talk about art. It’s New York City, and the sky is pink and green. There is dancing, it’s so much fun, and there are a lot of sculptures. 


fin: When Ashley talks about sculptures in New York and the drawing of New York with pink and greens, I think of the many sculptures that she’s made at home and in the studio. 


fin: Ashley… 


Ashley Hiscott: hm? 


fin: Have you ever been to New York City? 


Ashley Hiscott: I do. I do. It was so much fun. 


fin: Cool. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yes, really. 


fin: I’ve never been. 


Ashley Hiscott: Mmhmm.  


fin: Ashley’s artwork has transformed in many ways, such as, she would take her flat paper drawings, cut them up, cut out the objects, the shapes, the subjects, and turn them into 3D sculptural forms. There would be several little paper sculptures that would go together to make a massive scene installation.  

She did like wedding scenes and New York scenes, and these were all using her drawings and cutting them out, standing them up.  

How do you choose your colours? How do you know what colours to choose? 


Ashley Hiscott: I choose anything; good colors, looks good to me. Yeah. 


fin: Next we look at a drawing with lights, stars, a big full moon, and a big city. 


Ashley Hiscott: There are a lot of colors. Pink with palm trees, so well. 


fin: These little squares, they’re repeating. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yeah, yeah, really. That’s me. I’m going to talk about the lights. There was a big full moon romantic show. It was amazing. It’s a big city. 


fin: Let’s talk about this one. It’s called “The Crickets, the Turtle, and the Light.” 


Ashley Hiscott: Oh, okay, I got it. 


fin: Ashley and I are looking at a drawing that has a frog, a turtle, and crickets dancing by the water with lights, and they’re in a nature scene. 


Ashley Hiscott: Right. 


Ashley Hiscott: That’s a really cute turtle for me. I love the sounds. 

fin: The sound of crickets? 


Ashley Hiscott: It is the crickets!  It looks like beautiful frogs sitting by the water. 


fin: So, the frog in the cricket, it looks like they’re joining the dance party. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yeah, it is. Yeah. 


fin: And what are all these houses? 


Ashley Hiscott: Yeah, with lots of lights and everything with these good houses. 


fin: I take a moment to share with Debbie that Ashley was nominated as an artist for an award by M. M is an important community member, so Debbie and I will share some of M’s thoughts. M wrote that Being Studio celebrates creative excellence by celebrating Ashley Hiscott. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: Ashley has been an artist at Being Studio for four years. During that time, she flourished as an artist working with her favorite mediums and is always excited about new ones. Her imagination is boundless. 


fin: Ashley embodies creativity through her artwork, through her writing, and even how she dresses. 

Her passion is demonstrated through the obvious joy she expresses while making her art. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: That passion is infectious in that it inspires the artists and the staff that work with her. Whether an original love story, poetry reading, or spontaneous declaration of love, Ashley is a prolific artist on any surface available to her. 

She will often include text that reads like stream of conscious poetry or lyrics from a song. 


fin: In a lot of Ashley’s work, she uses symbols like candles, water, lilies, bells, and palm trees. She often uses both sides of whatever she is working on. 

Debbie Ratcliffe: Ashley is unstoppable! Her artwork can be seen on Being Studio’s online shop. 


fin: Ashley even has her own Facebook page. It’s called Live, Laugh, Love. Art by Ashley Hiscott. Ashley is very proud of her Facebook page and being able to share her work online. 

 I asked Ashley if I could share some of her artist statement with Debbie who is getting to know her and her artwork more: “I like to use markers and pens because they are easy to use. I like to draw flowers, lanterns, big churches, and wedding cakes. My art is about romance and dreams. My identity is my artwork.” 


Debbie Ratcliffe: Brilliant. I love that statement, though. 


Within the past four years, Ashley’s work has been featured in several shows and performances. She has been featured in her artwork and as a performance artist through acting and dancing. 

 Debbie and I take some time to talk to Ashley more about her artwork.


Ashley Hiscott: That’s my doing! 


Debbie Ratcliffe: That’s really nice. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yeah, thank you. 


fin: The sketch we are looking at is about her Richcraft gallery show. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: This is a Being Studio logo in the middle. The text reads, “Go, Ashley, Go,” which repeats all around the border of her drawing. 


fin: What are the yellow spots? 


Ashley Hiscott: Those are yellow lights. 


fin: They look like Hollywood lights. 


Ashley Hiscott: They do, I am. 


fin: Go, Ashley! 


Ashley Hiscott: Yeah, there we go! 


fin: How does your Richcraft gallery show make you feel? 


Ashley Hiscott: Oh, I feel great; I am very happy with smiles. Yep, I am. It looks like there’s a lot of painting there, so well. So exciting. 


fin: We look at another drawing, and I ask Debbie if she recognizes the subject seen in Ashley’s work. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: Oh, I remember! It’s the spider from the museum. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yeah, that’s it. You got it, Debbie. Yes. 


fin: Yeah, so we are looking at a sketch of the spider sculpture in front of the National Gallery of Canada. This sculpture is called Maman by Louise Bourgeois. 

I love your lines and how you draw what you see. 


Ashley Hiscott: Mmhmm. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: It’s really nice. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yep. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: The colors are really pretty too. 


Ashley Hiscott: They do… 


Debbie Ratcliffe: like the blues, and the light green. 


fin: I can almost imagine myself standing right under the spider. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yep, yep. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: That’s really neat. 


fin: I think your sketches show a lot of memories. 


Ashley Hiscott: Really? 


Debbie Ratcliffe: And who you are. 


Ashley Hiscott: Really… 


fin: We are looking at a drawing by Ashley that has a Cinderella character standing in front of a castle. There are also other characters in this drawing. 


Ashley Hiscott: Look, there’s Cinderella! Disney World. There’s a big castle. 


fin: I love the way you draw your characters. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yeah. Okay. Beautiful love. 


fin: What are these three characters in the bottom right corner? 


Ashley Hiscott: Those are three mice. 


fin: The three mice? 


Debbie Ratcliffe: Really cute. 


Ashley Hiscott: Ha-ha, they are cute, got ya! 


Debbie Ratcliffe: really nice. 


fin: Your artwork tells a lot of stories. 


Ashley Hiscott: I do. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: I really like it. 


Ashley Hiscott: Oh good. 


fin: Debbie and I spend some more time together looking at Ashley’s drawings. sculptures, and a mask that she made. The last drawing we’re looking at has a big heart in the middle with eyes and several other hearts in and around it. We felt that this sketch was a special way to summarize this episode.  

This is an episode that shares dreams, passion, joy, and love. I really love this sketch by Ashley. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: Yeah. 


fin: Ashley started this sketch months ago. She added a little bit every week and then went to work on something else, and now it is finished. So, it’s really cool to see how it slowly came to life in its fullest form. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: It looks like half of an hourglass but with little hearts, and the hearts are just bubbling over like a fizz. 


fin: Yeah, it almost feels like this drawing is bursting with so much emotion and joy. Can you describe some of the colors you see? 


Debbie Ratcliffe: Red, blue, purple, pink. The shape of it looks like half of an hourglass figure, and it looks like bubbles of hearts over the top of it. 


fin: What do you think about Ashley’s mask? 


Debbie Ratcliffe: It’s beautiful. It’s got all sorts of sparkles. Colors of pinks and light greens. 


fin: I asked Debbie if she had any closing thoughts for the episode after reflecting on Ashley and her art practices. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: I love Ashley’s work. She’s a visionary, and her dreams are big. 


fin: Her dreams are big, and I love her work too.

As we wrap up this episode, I ask Ashley why it is important for her to share her artwork and create this podcast episode. 


Ashley Hiscott: That it’s amazing. I’ll say thank you, I love it. Lots of time, hard work and everything. 


fin: Yes, all your time and hard work is very appreciated. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yeah, I am. 


fin: Well, I wanted to let you know that it has been so amazing to work on this episode. 


fin: Thank you. Debbie and I have had a lot of fun learning more about you, your dreams, and your artwork. 


Ashley Hiscott: Yep, dreams come true. It’s easy; they’re good dreams. 


fin: I was wondering if we could talk about one last artwork? 


Ashley Hiscott: Mm-hmm. 


fin: We are looking at a really large, multi-layer, multi-sided drawing that Ashley created on a framing matte-board. On the inside, Ashley drew a big New York scene. 


Ashley Hiscott: From Broadway, it’s amazing. There are studios and cities. It’s amazing. 


fin: It is amazing! 


Ashley Hiscott: Exactly. Yes. 


fin: On one of the buildings, there’s a drawing of a lion with text that says Lion King. Another building says Broadway, and another one says Mamma Mia. 

There are traffic lights and lots of colours, and then when you close it and flip it around, There’s another drawing on the back. The drawing on the back has tall, grey buildings that seem to be in a nature landscape scene. There is a blue sky, and there are mountains and stars.

What is in the middle? 


Ashley Hiscott: In the middle, there’s a hot tub swimming. There’s a hot tub that just looks amazing. See the colors. 


fin: Oh, a hot tub. Yeah. 


Ashley Hiscott: That’s a blue sky. It’s amazing. I love mountain stars. 


fin: And then you also have your classic palm trees. Yeah. I love it. 


Ashley Hiscott: We do. Thank you. 


fin: I think this is a great way to end your episode. Thank you, Ashley. 


Ashley Hiscott: Thank you, everybody, for joining the big art; thank you so much. I miss you.

Goodbye. Thank you so much. I love you 


fin: Speak is hosted by Debbie Ratcliffe: Debbie the Dragon Ratcliffe 

fin: Myself, fin 


Debbie Ratcliffe: Produced and cohosted by Rachel Gray and fin. 


fin: This season of Speak is supported by the City of Ottawa. Special thanks to Jack Hui Litster for music and sound editing in this episode. 


Debbie Ratcliffe: If you like Speak, please rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. It helps other people find the show. Thanks for listening.