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Tarpon Springs Artist                                               35 year old Ashley Urban is a well known artist in Tarpon Springs and has not let anything stand in the way of her dreams.  Ashley presents some of her work at the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce building in downtown and now in Paint the Town Citrus in Carrollwood.                    Among her many talents, Ashley is a painter and a musician. She started making a living with her skills after being diagnosed with high functioning autism when she was 18 years old. The disorder led to Urban’s interest in art and music. She found efficiency and satisfaction with expressing herself through drawings or an instrument rather than verbal communication.   “I always had trouble communicating” . “So art and music have been my best priorities.”                                     Ashley has been living in Tarpon Springs with her family since she was 9 years old. Her mother, Mary, said the disorder was somewhat apparent throughout Ashley’s childhood, but went undiagnosed by professionals for some time.  Mary explained the disorder as someone who does not speak a first language fluently.  Frustration was an inevitable obstacle for the family, but Mary said Ashley never lost her sense of compassion.  “She has got a heart as big as the world,” Mary said.  Ashley’s knack for creative expression was noted early on, but her parent and teachers just assumed she was gifted.  Music was Ashley’s first step into the art world, which she began to master at just five years old. She can play the harp, the violin and the piano.  Ashley added that she recently started taking vocal lessons as well.                                        Drawing was an instant hit with Ashley and it eventually led to painting.  Painting is where Ashley makes the majority of her income and she uses unique objects instead of canvases.  “Whenever you have a special vision or an idea in your head, you just want to bring it out through your talents,” Ashley explains.  Ashley enjoys a variety of mediums, manga, a form of Japanese animation, is Ashley’s favorite form of art.  She might be seizing the day on a daily basis, but the artist thinks about the future a lot too.  Ashley said that her goals include becoming a great artist as well as a ballroom dancing champion.  “Art had made me forget all about my disability.”

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