Ashton Bird (b. 1990) is an emerging installation artist and architectural designer. He currently resides in Prague, Czechia where he is a Master of Architecture candidate at the prestigious Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (UMPRUM). Bird was raised on a farm in southeast South Dakota, received his BFA from Minnesota State University-Mankato, apprenticed at Dakota Pottery in South Dakota, studied at Korea University in South Korea while briefly apprenticing at local Itaewon ceramic shop, and received his MFA from Florida State University. From 2015 to 2019, Ashton founded the 501c3 project space SOUP experimental where he curated 50+ on-site exhibitions, 24 video and written interviews, 3 public art crawls and several large-scale national collaborations between universities and private entities. Bird exhibits at traditional institutes, DIY projects, public art events and online venues. Notable locations include: MINT Atlanta, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta Fringe Festival, Day & Night Projects Atlanta, Wiregrass Museum of Art, Delaware Contemporary, Psychic Jacuzzi, The Washington Pavilion of South Dakota, 410 Gallery Mankato, Metropolitan Gallery 250 Philadelphia, Manifest Creative Research Gallery & Drawing Center Cincinnati, and Cat Family Records Tallahassee. He recently finished a his 3-month Nexus residency funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation at the Atlanta Contemporary. From 2019 to 2022 Ashton was a full time architectural lighting designer in The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry. He has worked on several restaurant and hospitality ventures throughout the United States, but three notable projects include: Rumi’s Colony Square, Atlanta, Spaceman, Hyatt Buckhead and the Casa Don Alfonso, Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.

My artistic practice is directly influenced by place and studies how it influences our community, habits and behavior. Similarly, my foundation as a lighting designer has allowed me to explore the perception of architectural spaces using scenes of light. A common motif through it all is the transformation and invigoration of built spaces and objects. The psychology of space interests me –as it is systemic to human morality, wellness and cultural progression. Currently, I am researching how the built environment has become inexplicably entangled with financial return over architectural ideology and how it has influenced contemporary spatial design. The idea of the architect becoming an investment tool to procure capital has become standard global practice in modern cities. There are several questions worth asking. What is holding the land? Sales and render-marketing now precedes detailed design phases or architectural drawings, and in most cases the “architectural style” constructed hinders long-term ingenuity for quick, short-term revenue. On the surface these results are obvious: a generalized aesthetic, which is considered common and default, but more important –are buildings truly reaching sustainability goals such as LEED, WELL and FITWELL as the firms internally-marketed metrics say they are? Do these metrics apply when most new buildings are holding the land and expected to be demolished instead of retrofitted? What is making this happen? How are the things built influencing our daily lives and impacting future generations? What are the politics of newly constructed spaces? What is historic preservation? What is the morality of this and how does it impact contemporary and future culture? The energy and interconnectedness of the urban environment inspires my installations.