Ashley Zelinskie

Can digital art be the language that bridges understanding of science, computers and humans? Ashley Zelinskie uses NFTs and 3D scans and printing to translate science and computers to humans as she brings it to life through her digital artworks.

Francesca Miller |  Ed Cristina Brooks |  30 April 2021

ASHLEY Zelinskie portrait - Agora Digital Art

Ashley Zelinskie (b. 1988) is a Brooklyn, NYC based conceptual digital and other mixed media artist working at the intersection of art, technology and mathematics. Her art works span a variety of media, from large- and small-scale sculpture to works created by using cutting edge technology such as 3D printing and computer-guided laser cutting. She uses plating – gold, silver or copper to add weight and a unique finish and quality to them.

She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is also the director of the Active Space in Brooklyn that rents out 47 studios to artists.

Current Event

mid-Dec 2021: Launch of the telescope James Webb by the NASA

Ashley Zelinskie, Exploration (2021) © Courtesy of the artist.

Did you know?

Zelinskie enjoys constantly drawing parallels between art and science, computers, technology, space – and the genetic code – a recurrent feature in her digital artworks.

As you explore her different works, her focus on data visualisation follows a pattern as she takes abstract forms and translates their complex ideas through geometric shapes.  You also notice that these digital artworks push boundaries as they ask and unearth uncomfortable questions about our inner fears on the progress of science and its impact on humanity.

Zelinskie is a former resident of New Inc. , the New Museum’s Art and Technology Incubator, has collaborated with the Smithsonian and NASA on bringing their scientific research projects to life through her art pieces.

In keeping with her desire to curb her negative impact on the environment, Zelinskie has collaborated with Querencia Studios and designed a sustainable garment: the “Мир мир” (Mir Mir) Helmet (2019), as part of Earth Suit Project they did for Paris Fashion week 2019.

Featured Projects

Exploration (2017-2021)

Ashley Zelinskie, Exploration (2021)  © Courtesy of the artist.

This is a commemoration of the James Webb Space Telescope mission and will be the continuation of her Exploration (2017) art piece. This time, however, the artwork she will create will focus heavily on the human aspect and involvement in this NASA project.

Now, in 2021, the telescope will finally launch, a culmination of human achievement, and she would like to feature those humans that made it happen. NASA Goddard [NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland] has once again asked Zelinskie to create a work to commemorate the launch of the JWST in October. The artist interviewed scientists and engineers at NASA to get the scoop on what they worked on, how it affects the overall mission, their personal stories and emotions, and why this mission is so monumental.

Zelinskie’s work will be a testament to the humans that worked on this project for over a decade.

NASA Laser gold plated 3D printed nylon and also NFT: the arms are reaching out of the primary mirror of the JWST as though they are reaching through a portal to the ends of the universe. As they push through they are enveloped in information, formulas that have helped unlock the secrets of the universe. Two of the arms are scans from NASA scientists Amber Amber Straughn and John C. Mather. The third is the arm of the artist.

Ashley Zelinskie, One and One Chair (2020) media output,  nr of edition 1/1 on Foundation © Courtesy of the artist.

One and One Chair (2014)

One and One Chair is one of her earliest pieces made when she was only 23. Although this piece was made a decade ago she believes it to be a cornerstone to her portfolio.

The piece is inspired by Joseph’s Kosuth’s original “One and Three Chairs” piece (1965),  a three-piece artwork posing a question of the true nature of objects. Like Kosuth, Zelinskie re-asks the question but with the eyes and mind of someone living in this millennium. “Which is the real chair? Is it the 3D printed object or the code?

Zelinskie addresses head-on the critics who question the value of  digital art and technologies. Many of those who questioned the place of 3D printing as a medium are now questioning if NFTs hold any artistic merit. Questions like “Are NFTs art?”, “What are collectors actually buying?”

She addresses these questions in her newest iteration of One and One Chair stating it to be a natural progression of the work. By minting “One and One Chair” as an NFT she is restating Kosuth’s query of the true nature of objects and reminding audiences that these have been questions posed throughout art history.

One and One chair is now being sold as a “phygital”: a 3D sculpture (physical) and the NFT (digital). She is using the NFT, as a form of digital provenance linked to the physical sculpture. For years she has offered not only her sculptures to collectors but also the 3D models and computer code, stating that when you own a work you own all three. Now by linking these to the blockchain she can also offer the authenticity of these parts.

Excerpt of her interview with Artzealous

Ashley Zelinskie, Vitruvian Woman (2020)  © Courtesy of the artist.

Vitruvian Woman (2020 – 2021)

“Vitruvian Woman [animation]” is an animated 3D rendering of a large scale 3D-printed sculpture by conceptual technology artist Ashley Zelinskie. This was Zelinskie’s first NFT, released as part of Women’s History Month.

The original life-sized sculpture subverts da Vinci’s ideal male form, the Vitruvian Man, by generating an idealized female form, composed of many women Zelinskie has worked with, and 3D-scanned, over years: scientists, artists, performers and entrepreneurs. In using the genetic code of the X chromosomes as a lattice for this composite form, Zelinksie has created a literal and figurative everywoman.

Artist, Title work (yyyy) © Courtesy of the artist.

Cube with the Sound of its Own Printing (2014)

Opening soon: Orchestral Manoeuvres , curated by Adrian George, ArtScience Museum, Singapore

This exhibition will feature an early sound work by Zelinskie, “Cube with the Sound of its Own Printing” (2014). The work will be shown alongside the original work by Robert Morris “Box with the Sound of its Own Making”.

Ashley Zelinskie, Mariposa (2020)  © Courtesy of the artist.

Mariposa (2020)

These 3D printed butterflies are a collaboration with the scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and based on their research using CRISPR gene-editing technology.

Zelinskie drew inspiration from the findings of scientist Carolina Concha who was editing a specific gene in butterfly wings causing the colours to spill out. Zelinskie found the patterns to resemble watercolour and so took to recreating the wings in this medium. This piece also looks at the science and ethics behind gene editing and the beauty of gene manipulation.

Key achievements

2014 Adobe and Shapeways Ultimate Design Award for Iconic 3D Print

Solo / duo shows

2020 Spring into Action, online group exhibition, Monica King Contemporary, New York

2020 The Arch, online exhibition, The Arch, Amsterdam, NL

2020 Wish You Were Here, online exhibition, Monica King Contemporary, New York

2020 Works on Paper, online exhibition, Art of This World, New York, NY

2017 Reverse Abstraction, TORCH Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Group shows 

2021 Beyond XYZ , Faberium, group VR NFT exhibition, New York, USA

2021 Orchestral Manoeuvres, group exhibition, ArtScience Museum, Singapore

2020  Wish You Were Here, Monica King Projects Spring to Action , Monica King Projects

2018 Classic Nouveau, LatchKey Gallery, Brooklyn

2017  All in One, Kate Oh Gallery

Fair Booths

2021 – 2014:  Art Miami, Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, NL

2019 Art Rotterdam 2019, Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, NL

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