AshaAung Helmstetter is a Seattle-based, contemporary portrait painter, who often works with oil paints in heavy textures. Originally, her awe for paint was found in museums as a child, looking through European/Western Classical and Impressionistic art, always most captivated by thick paint strokes and the way color describes depth. This helped shape visions of what she wanted to create herself; aiming also to capture in each piece beauty, imaginativeness, and life. With this in mind, she draws inspiration from the women around her, creating paintings that show confidence in their likeness, often in bold colors or slightly exaggerated. She feels a connectedness and energy in being a black/brown woman painting portraits of other women (also often black or brown as well). She uses her paintings to describe the strength she sees in each of her subjects, and shed light on strength that sometimes is even internally unseen.
In 2016, encouraged by a friend already enrolled, Helmstetter decided to visit a figure drawing class at Seattle Central College. It was after that class that she realized her art would paint the road in the path of her life. In the next year of school, art classes at SCC were a place of comfort while diagnosing the chronic pain that has remained an issue to her to this today. Eventually leaving school to focus on her health and personal development, Helmstetter was able to come into her own as an artist, dedicated to her craft. Her constant pain has been the largest detriment to her living, but when looking in the eyes of her portraits she is reminded of her strength and persists forward. She strives to remind the audience of their own persistence when looking at her art.