Visual Impact


Ashten McKinney | Waynesville, NC

(she/her, they/them)


     Ashten McKinney is a multi-disciplined artist and independent curator whose work instills a wide array of emotion through both subject matter and a combined language of painting, collage, and assemblage. Their work consists of bright colors and energetic movement, most often relaying a message of diversity, equality, peace, and self-appreciation through the recurring phrase, “Je t’aime plus que hier, moins que demain” hidden frequently within their work. The French phrase for “I love you more than yesterday, less than tomorrow” was inscribed on their parents’ wedding band, and from a young age McKinney became very fond of it — adopting it as an affirmation and commitment to self-love, respect, and continued growth. It is through this quest in to deep self awareness and appreciation their work finds its purpose.  

     In their current series “Da Capo Sonata Codetta”,  McKinney displays a pressing quest of increased form and dimension within their work. Carefully disassembling retired musical instruments, they provide a newfound life, beauty, and purpose through sculptural assemblage — not only as an homage to a passion of both music and nature observed in the final creation, but rather inviting the viewer to consider their own experiences, fears, and victories with starting over while always reinforcing the philosophy that it’s never too late to change direction when the past no longer serves our current lives. 


     McKinney is the owner of Curatory Gallery in Waynesville, NC and founder of ThirstyCanvas – an organization committed to expanding visual arts education and resources for students and teachers in Western North Carolina through an annual art auction with over 50 participating artists and a true street-level, underground and alternative energy.



*For submissions and proposals, please use the online form here


Curatory Gallery
120 Miller St. — Waynesville, NC



Ashten at Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen Waynesville, NC -

Consulting and curatorial services range from off site events and public art initiatives, to building both commercial and residential private collections.