Restful, flamboyant, harmonious, clinical, chic, and somber
are all words to describe color, and all trigger an emotional response.
For many, including myself, to linger over color is the prize.
Eve Ashcraft is a master colorist, developing color plans for private clients, architects, corporations, and when Martha called, yes that Martha, Eve picked up the phone and proceeded to develop the Araucana Colors and Everday Colors of Martha Stewart Living line of paints.
Eve takes place, form and light into consideration when choosing her palettes.
Look for The Right Color, Eve’s new book as well as her upcoming paint line, Eve Ashcraft Color, an edited range of 28 colors designed to work together, September 2011.
Enjoy The Good Company of Eve Ashcraft as well as her chosen images,
which inspire and inform the Ashcraft color story.
D: Favorite Color Combination?
EA: This is a great question for a color consultant. My immediate answer is any one that works for the project at hand. I am a context fanatic. A brilliant color story may be perfect right here and not so perfect over there. I am a gray person. Gray with lots of other gray and gray with any color. My next book will be about gray – it is the color all colors retreat to before they sign off in darkness.
D: Favorite Museum?
EA: I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a great big container of loot. I have spent the last 20 years looking for inspiration and answers – and lunch, at the Met. When I did decorative painting on the Upper East Side in the 80’s and 90’s I would go to the Met for lunch. It is not the same since the Dorothy Draper dining room became the New Greek and Roman galleries, which in themselves are a work of art. However, I loved that crazy big dining room with the swaggy chandeliers and cheap tuna sandwiches. I would always tuck into the Egyptian wing because no matter how many times I look at all of that stuff, it still takes my breath away.
D: Best Working Tool?
EA: My favorite work tool is my iPhone. I’m a big fan of Apple. Everything they design is beautiful and functional. I take endless pictures with my phone. I document job sites, client’s pets, crazy things I see on the streets of New York, and scads of still life pictures for color inspiration. Aside from that, I am endlessly grateful for all the mobility that technology has given me. I can specify colors from a chairlift, airport lounge or France. I love to be able to move around freely, and at the same time, I want to make sure my clients are fully considered.
D: What Is Your Working Studio Like?
EA: My workspace is one of the great joys of my life. It’s an old loft space in Soho where I have been for over 20 years. The landlord, super, and elevator guy are like family. I open the door and am reminded how fortunate I am to have forged an interesting career and I can work in a space like this. Old tin ceilings, a huge skylight, rough-hewn columns, battered painted floors – these kinds of spaces have been disappearing from Manhattan. I work on two large tables. One is 9 feet long, covered with Belgian linen, tacked around the edges like a giant painter’s canvas. The other higher table I can stand at and work. It has wheels so I can move my color work in and out of various light conditions. Having had the same studio for all these years is terrific. I know the light throughout the year and adjust my work schedule accordingly. I hope I never have to move; it would be like starting from scratch!
D: What Makes You Feel Most Empowered?
EA: I am a big fan of happiness and believe that the best way to get from point A to point B is a stress-free line. I’ve seen people bring extra drama into projects and no one benefits. Working with other dedicated designers achieving a positive result for their clients, is super inspiring. I like smart teamwork and am lucky to work with many talented people. I love working with like-minded souls and would like to think that we all make each other’s work better.
D: Where Did Your Creative Journey Begin?
EA: As a child, I would love to watch my mother work on her oil paintings – she taught me a lot about color. I played a game to pass the time, which I called the Picking Game. The Picking Game could be played with anything that showed multiple choices – like the Sears catalog. The rule was that I had to pick something on the page – no matter how awful. Sometimes it was the “least worst”, but other times it was the most fabulous. Basically, my entire adult work life has been a version of the Picking Game.
D: Morning Person or Evening?
EA: I am a morning person and an evening person. I love early mornings when it’s quiet, and I can do whatever I want before the day officially begins. I’m better at math and science in the morning. Evenings are social, fun, and a different aspect of my personality gets to take over. I can overwork, so evenings with friends happen to be indispensable – and inspiring.
D: Best Lunch Spot?
EA: When I’m working, I have lunch with my dear friend and fellow designer, Martin Raffone, in the studio. Martin rents space from me and we love to hash out what we are working on over salad from Olive’s. If I go out, I like to meet friends at Delicatessen on Prince and Lafayette. They serve major breakfast all day so sometimes I go and have a stack of pancakes or eggs. Then there is Balthazar, a guilty pleasure, located too close to the studio. That is my place for a reward lunch after a big deadline.
D: Favorite Sandwich?
EA: Tuna fish with capers, walnuts and green apples on Rye.
D: Favorite Charity?
EA: My favorite charity is the Animal Welfare Institute. AWI based in Washington DC, has been working to improve the conditions for domestic and wild animals worldwide through traditional channels. They have done extraordinary things for ocean life by lobbying to get the Navy to stop sonar testing, work tirelessly to stop trafficking of wildlife and advocate for more humane practices in the food industry.
Photographs used by permission, copyright © Eve Ashcraft.