Ashley McKenzie-Barnes

Art Director/ Visual Art Director, Toronto, ON. Born: Toronto, ON.

Ashley McKenzie-Barnes is a visionary within the artistic realm, whose passion for art was recognized at a very young age. She has been involved in the arts since childhood, with her talent becoming evident while she was still in daycare, leading her to start a very early creative education at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre. Upon the recommendation of her Grade 4 teacher, she attended high school at the Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, majoring in Visual Arts. Ashley continued to expand her interest, attending Centennial College and then the Humber College School of Media Arts. She is currently furthering her studies at Ryerson in Design for Art & Entertainment.

Ashley’s extensive work background combined with her impressive portfolio attests to her amazing success. With her start at Toronto’s urban radio station FLOW 93.5FM, she moved on to the corporate side of advertising, then to “Portrait”, her first art showcase, and into the creative side of art direction. Ashley has also worked alongside industry-renowned, international video-director Little X, screenplay writer Trey Anthony, the Toronto Centre for the Arts, Ice Gear Fitness Apparel, Eye Weekly, Sway Magazine, Canadian Immigrant Magazine, Cream Magazine, Peace! Magazine, and the SIX AH WI Artists’ Collective.

Earlier this year, Ashley was a guest speaker at Metro Hall’s Art for All Canada conference, and is now the 2010 Visual Art Director for the Manifesto Festival, as well as one of the new faces on the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) for Ryerson University’s School of Continuing Education “My Success Story” campaign.

Favourite book? The book of Secrets by Deepak Chopra. It touches on the knowledge that we intuitively harness, yet every time I read a page I feel like I’ve just been reminded for the first time. Great book to read to gain some insight into life’s natural answers.

Favourite quote? I have so many and they change all the time. It’s hard to choose one. But if I had to it would be Michelle Obama’s speeck at the University of California: “Remember that you are blessed – remember that in exchange for those blessings you must give something back. You must reach back and pull someone up. You must bend down and let someone else stand on your shoulders so that they can see a brighter future.”

Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Own my own gallery or creative space.

What inspires you? Life. Having the passion to experience it on different levels, to express within it creatively and and learning from others. Seeing what others have used as motivation and experienced.

Why do you do what you? I do what I do because I have chosen this path and followed it. I started very young as a creative, and with the guidance of my mom, teachers, friends, family I was given the encouragement to appreciate and use my talents. From that, everything I did was something I enjoyed doing. It has given me a chance to create, invent, express, give to others, and lead. There’s no reason for me to NOT do what I do.

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