Life can be ugly. The wonderful thing about creativity is that it acts as alchemy, allowing you to take your pain and turn it to gold. You have the tools and the power to transform. There are infinite ways in which we can transform. And infinite places we can find beauty...give yourself the permission and thirst to look for it everywhere. It is all around you. One of the most valuable lessons I've learned in this life is to look through a different lens. What do I mean by 'lens', you ask? Looking through a new lens means pausing to notice and admire details. To recognize the immense amount of harmony that nature and the human race creates.
For instance, one single flower, and I absolutely ADORE flowers to no end, has billions of years worth of perfected evolution within each petal. Nature has created a rhythm, a composition in every single element it produces. A vibration that sings at the perfect pitch for eternity. Or notice how the cracks in the sidewalk split at such interesting angles, allowing a seed that has perfectly planted itself betwixt the cracks to sprout forth. Most of us will step over it and never notice.
Or maybe you'll notice that the reflections of the clouds on the glass of a skyscraper seem to create an optical illusion which excites your brain into thinking there is platform leading into the heavens directly before you. Or someday you'll notice the distorted rippling reflections of the passersby amidst the small puddles that have collected from the spring rain on the sidewalk. Maybe you find a dead moth collecting dust in a windowsill and you wonder what it's short life was like. Or perhaps you stumbled on the perfect composition of colors, lines and shape as vintage van drives by an incredible historic facade.
Or maybe you're moved to tears by the subtle orchestra of varying bird species in the distance that sing to some unheard rhythm of the earth beneath your feet. And you'll remember the romantic regret that it was in those moments when you almost told someone you loved them, but didn't. Maybe you notice how the hand of the woman sitting next to you at a cafe is perfectly placed upon the undulating waves of her rich cinnamon brown wool coat, the morning light gently sweeping over, with a perfectly dying floral arrangement behind her, and behind that, through the glass, and across the sidewalk is one of the many historic buildings that defines your city. YOU ARE NOT ALONE because at any given moment, you are surrounded by visual miracles.
I'll admit, I'm the sensitive type (could you guess?). And these small details evoke a certain odd joy within me. I've been moved to tears just seeing the way the shadows crawl across a building during golden hour of dusk. But seeing all of this beauty was never something that came without immense cognitive discipline, built year after year of being terrorized by the many tragedies of life. Seeing and understanding beauty is a defense mechanism for me. It is my survival. It has saved me from myself and saved me from accepting the fact that the world is here to destroy me. In fact, my survival tactic taught me quite the opposite: that the details of our surroundings are for quenching the thirst of our hedonistic and intrinsic human desire for beauty in all forms. For when you take the time to understand the elements and rules of design and composition (which I'll post about soon), you begin to understand what makes something beautiful. When you understand beauty, you begin to understand healing. When you understand how to heal yourself, you begin to understand your inner peace. This all may seem esoterically complex and tiresome, but I assure you, the more you strive to find beauty in the everyday, in the every detail, the easier and more natural it becomes. Pretty soon, you won't be able to step foot outside without being overwhelmed by the minutia of detail all around you. And this my dear reader, is such a vast part of our creative expression. To SEE, really SEE the world around you as it exists in limitless detail. THAT IS CREATIVITY IN ITS RAWEST STATE.
To be creative is to understand that everything we touch, everything we put our energy toward, everything we stop to admire, takes a certain level of gentle and emotional understanding of what it is to be human. What it is to have the luxury of living beyond survival. This luxury is that we all have the ability to stop and CREATE something from nothing, for art's sake. We have the luxury of being able to spend our time outside of the survival instincts of the animal kingdom. To see and appreciate subtle beauty is a luxury most of us overlook. But when you've trained your eye, your brain, and your heart to seek out these glorious details, to scan your horizon for any tiny thing that might awaken your inner excitable child, to stop and appreciate something so seemingly insignificant, THAT is where your creativity is born. THAT is the place where it can incubate and begin to flourish. Among the vast and miniscule details of your everyday life. Creativity is right here. It is within all of us. Your creativity is within the gift of being a human. And through practice, you can unleash it. You can use your creativity as alchemy. And this my friends, is my favorite means of chemistry...turning pain into beauty. Whether it is beauty that you simply observe, or beauty that you create. Your pain holds immense value and potential. But you must look at it through your new lens to understand one of life's most vital lessons.
The Art of Style is more than looking pretty and more than fashion. It is more than vintage clothes and sassy humor. It is more than an instagram feed or crisp website. The true message is in all of the energy that I use to never stop being creative and seeing the world through my lens, despite what heartbreak lies behind me and within me. The true message is that we can use our creative intuitions to slowly release ourselves from the bondage of pain and trauma to create or see something beautiful and exciting and passionate out of it all. And better yet, we can share that transformation with others and perpetuate more inspiration and creativity for each other and for the greater good of humanity. My name is Ashley Urban and I will never stop creating and seeing beauty in the world, through my use of fashion, my thirst for exploration, my immense love for the perfections of nature and of course, for the endlessly extraordinary people in my life. And it is the mission of my brand to inspire the same excitable sentiments for the smaller joys in life within you.