I am Ashley Koudou; I am a 20-year-old Ivorian American artist from Minneapolis and an advertising major at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). When I first started at MCAD, I thought I wanted to do fashion advertising, as I later went through my first year at MCAD that quickly began to change. Coming to a school that was predominantly white was a big change for me; I grew up and went to school with all kinds of people with diverse backgrounds. At home, the sights, smells, and sounds of West African culture surrounded me. Little did I know that that would be an inspiration for my work in the future. Soon after I came to MCAD, wanted to explore different African news and websites to stay connected to the culture I grew up with. From this, I started to switch my artistic focus to doing work that was more Afrocentric and showcased a lot of different black/African narratives mainly using graphic design and photography.

With advertising, I take an approach that focuses on inclusion and representation. I have had the honor of working on projects that focus on uplifting people of color and now the work I’ve put in has been acknowledged. It has allowed me the opportunity to have my first internship with the non-profit organization, Find Your Power working as their Market Research and Design Intern. For the remaining time I have here at MCAD, I will continue to explore different methods of making black art through more film projects and illustrative work. I’m also currently in the process of filling out an application for the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program, (MAIP). I hope this will be another opportunity for me to see what I can make of my major.