AshaAung Helmstetter (She/Her) is an oil painter and mixed media artist who was born and brought up in Seattle’s Central District, where she is still based today. In 2017, AshaAung realized that she would dedicate very much of her life to art, and she has spent the years since actualizing that reality for herself. Having left school early to manage chronic health issues while focusing on her personal and artistic development, she has very little formal training. Through her work, she amplifies community-connection and finding freedom from within; which she also explores through teaching and participating in community spaces. Her paintings reflect her imagination, and perseverance: two things that are difficult to miss when encountering her person, or any of her creations.
AshaAung has developed several art workshops and she is currently a teaching artist with SilverKite Community Arts. In February 2021, she was SOIL Gallery’s Young Artist in Residence, and she was a 2023 cohort member of PrideFest’s Artist Retreat at Rockland Residency. She participated in Wa Na Wari’s 2021-2022 (extended to 2023) Artist in Residence cycle, and was Common Area Maintenance’s 2nd Ave Sign Project Artist in Residence in 2023. AshaAung was also recipient of the 2021 Foundry10 Young Artist Grant, and the 2024 Living Artist Grant. Asha’s work has been featured in the Northwest African American Museum, and on the cover of Real Change News.
When she isn’t painting, you can find Asha around town under her burlesque and go-go persona, Ms. Kitschy Kupid!
From the Artist:
No matter my limitations, my purpose is clear: create art, strengthen community, and be unapologetically myself. I create art with painting, crafting, burlesque, and go-go dancing. I strengthen my community with love: learning history, teaching, and listening. And when I'm unapologetically myself, I hope to make space for others to do the same. I’m not me without these pillars, and throughout my growth, this purpose has always remained.