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Ali Aschman

  • 20150128232548-paper_detail
  • 20150128232755-memento_mori_suitcase
  • 20150204194122-hands_cropped_web
  • 20150204194215-the_wrong_story_-_still
  • 20150128232833-they_stroke_the_world_like_a_pet_smaller
  • 20150128232850-like_a_noose_cropped
  • 20150128232903-an_ordinary_burden_-_web
  • 20150128232913-the_passage_-_web
  • 20150204193838-elsewhere_1
  • 20150204193931-elsewhere__the_survivors_4
  • 20150204200714-elsewhere_face_web
  • 20150207212906-your_goodbye_my_unspoken_scene
  • 20150128232915-dead_weight
  • 20150128232922-the_survivors_-_web
  • 20150128232952-screen1
  • 20150128233004-wide3
  • 20150204193824-the_thief_still_2
  • 20151227195549-the_trap_for_web


United States

Birth year

Lives in

Works in


The School of the Art Institute of Chicago


I create hand-made worlds exploring emotional states and personal experiences, using  animation, drawing, printmaking and sculptural processes, often combined in installations. Mysterious, melancholy narratives raise questions about human interactions - moments of convergence and separation between individuals, the brutality we inflict on one another, physically and emotionally, and the impulses we suppress.

I experiment with narrative forms, and am interested in how an allegory can be conveyed through moving and still images, kinetic and static objects and sculptural tableaux. I employ symbolic motifs such as long braids, detached limbs, unusual bodily openings, forests and caves, which through intuitive association form fractured narratives and psychological self-portraits. I embrace incoherence and ambiguity to communicate the fragmented and uneasy experience of being both overwhelmingly alone and irrefutably connected to the human race.


Curriculum Vitae:


  • MFA in Studio (Printmedia), School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2013)
  • BA in Fine Art and Philosophy, University of Cape Town, South Africa (2006)

Solo and Two-Person Exhibitions

  • Unnatural Growth, Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (2016)
  • Let's Not Talk About the Weather, The Whistler (window gallery), Chicago, IL (2015)
  • The Wrong Story, Spudnik Press Cooperative, Chicago, IL (2014)
  • Ali Aschman, King Art Collective, Chicago IL (2013)
  • Crocodile Tears, Parlour, Brooklyn, NY, with Andrzej Nowicki (2009)
  • The Moonlight Wisteria, Whatiftheworld, Cape Town (2007) 

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • Front and Center, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago (2015)
  • Dicker, Lurk and Skew, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago (2015)
  • Natural Wonder: the Rensing Center Story, Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville, SC (2014)
  • Future Sad, Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn, NY (2014)
  • Mundane Talismans, Starwalker Gala at Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL (2014)
  • ACTIVATE, Chicago Loop Alliance, Chicago, IL (2014)
  • Luminarts Visual Arts Competition, Union League Club of Chicago, IL (2014)
  • MFA Show, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL (2013)
  • Layered Cities and the Portable Studio, Kriti Gallery, Varanasi, India (2013)
  • Small Worlds, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL (2012)
  • Beyond Print: Across Dimensionality, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL (2012)
  • Civic & Arts Foundation Visual Arts Competition, Union League Club of Chicago, IL (2012)
  • Ex, Space 38|39, New York, NY (2012)
  • Assemble, Carousel Project, Chicago, IL (2012)
  • Gimme Some Truth, IN RiVERS, Brooklyn, NY (2011)
  • Cutters, Parlour, Brooklyn, NY (2011)
  • Opening Rejection, Williamsburg Walks, Brooklyn, NY (2011)
  • Pull the Devil’s Tail, Greenpoint Reform Church, Brooklyn, NY (2011)
  • Aux Follies, IN RiVERS, Brooklyn, NY (2011)
  • Desert Island, Space 1026, Philadelphia, PA (2011)
  • New Year, New Work, New Faces, Storefront, Brooklyn, NY (2011)
  • The Box Which Contains The World, Brooklyn Fire Proof, Brooklyn, NY (2010)
  • Parlour #17: Fragments, Staten Island, NY (2010)
  • Spazi Segreti, or Mendacity, Mood, Centotto, Brooklyn, NY (2010)
  • THE MERZBUSH, Norte Maar, Brooklyn, NY (2010)
  • Housebroken, Flux Factory, Long Island City, NY (2010)
  • The End is Like the Beginning, Cinders, Brooklyn, NY (2009)
  • Marginalia, MTS Gallery, Anchorage, AK (2009)
  • The Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY (2009)
  • Love is Like Magic, Cinders, Brooklyn, NY (2009)
  • India Street Mural Project, North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition, Brooklyn, NY (2009)
  • Printing Money, The South African Print Gallery, Cape Town (2009)
  • The Isle of Misfits, Canteen, Ottawa, Canada (2009)
  • Between Worlds, Curious Matter, Jersey City, NJ (2008)
  • Whatiftheworld, Hong Kong (2007)
  • Graduate Show, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (2006)
  • Not Yet Famous presents Nobody Likes Nothing, Whatiftheworld, Cape Town (2006)

Film Festivals

The Wrong Story

  • Strange Beauty Film Festival 2015, Durham, NC
  • Milwaukee Underground Film Festival 2015, Milwaukee, WI
  • Athens International Film and Video Festival 2015, Athens, OH

Elsewhere, the Survivors 

  • Mirror Mountain Film Festival 2015, Ottawa, Canada
  • Animasivo 2015, Mexico City, Mexico
  • SouthEastern Film Festival 2015, Dahlonega, GA & Nashville, TN
  • Rendezvous Film Festival 2015, Amelia Island, FL
  • Chicago Underground Film Festival 2015, Chicago, IL
  • Headwaters Film Festival 2015, Bemidji, MN
  • Animasivo 2015, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Holland Animation Film Festival 2015, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Taos Shortz Film Festival 2015, Taos, NM
  • Tricky Women 2015, Vienna, Austria
  • Animac 2015, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain
  • Outlier Film Festival 2014, Halifax NS, Canada
  • CutOut Fest 2014, Queretaro, Mexico
  • Butter Elbow Animation Festival 2014, Chicago, IL
  • canaltown Short Spooky Movie Festival 2014, Honesdale, PA
  • World Animation Celebration 2014, Los Angeles, CA
  • Festimation 2014, Missoula, MT
  • Rabbitfest 2014, Perugia, Italy
  • Strange Beauty Film Festival 2014, Durham, NC
  • Milwaukee Underground Film Festival 2014, Milwaukee, WI - WINNER: BEST ANIMATION 
  • Athens International Film and Video Festival 2014, Athens, OH - Honorable Mention, Animation Category
  • Athens Animfest 2014, Athens, Greece

The Thief

  • Mosaic World Film Festival 2015, Rockford, IL
  • Embarras Valley Film Festival 2014, Charleston, IL - First Place, Student-Produced Short Film Contest
  • Milwaukee Underground Film Festival 2014, Milwaukee, WI

Residencies and Awards

  • Ragdale Residency, 2016 (upcoming)
  • Post-graduate Internship, John David Mooney Foundation, 2015-2016
  • ACRE Residency, 2015
  • DCASE Individual Artist Grant, 2015
  • Hatch Projects Artist Resident, Chicago Artists' Coalition, 2014-2016
  • The Center Program, Hyde Park Art Center, 2014
  • Elsewhere Artist-in-Residence, Fall 2014
  • Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Grant, 2014
  • The League Residency at Vyt, Fall 2014 - Ruth Katzman Scholarship
  • The Rensing Center Artist-in-Residence, Summer 2014
  • Spudnik Press Spring Artist-in-Residence, 2014
  • Luminarts Cultural Foundation Visual Arts Fellow, 2014


Jamie Matroos, "The Trap: Ali Aschman's exploration of the female form merged with nature", Design Indaba (website), September 11, 2015.

Elsewhere Museum, “2014 | Artist|Ali Aschman”, Elsewhere Video (website), November 12, 2014.

Adam Becker, “A haunted, handmade world”, Design Indaba: Next Generation (website), October 10, 2014.

Fernanda Aguillón, “The Thief”, CutOut Fest (website), October 14, 2014.

Mike Steyerl, “Bushwick Open Studios ’10 Profile: Ali Aschman”, BushwickBK (blog). June 8th, 2010. (link no longer active)

Aaron Short, “Artist Ali Aschman’s ‘Melancholy’ Mural“, BushwickBK (blog). December 15, 2009. (link no longer active)

Nathan Punwar, “The Endless Disappearance of Everything”, (short documentary about Ali Aschman). August 2009.


Recent Exhibits

Ali Aschman participated in these exhibits:

Sep, 2016 Joint Exhibition
Roots & Culture
Jan, 2016 Unnatural Growth
Dittmar Memorial Gallery
Comfort Station
Aug, 2015 Front & Center: 2015 Center Program Final Exhibition
Hyde Park Art Center
Jun, 2015 Dicker, Lurk & Skew
Chicago Artist Coalition
Jan, 2015 Let's not talk about the weather
The Whistler
Click here to see all exhibits for Ali Aschman
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