Student artist uses quarantine to expand her online shop


This is a sorority sticker pack that sophomore Asha Altemus sells in her shop. Image Credit: Asha Altemus Photo credit: Asha Altemus

Sofia Mongillo

After the virus known as COVID-19 headed south, putting those in New Orleans at risk, Loyola students had no choice but to go back to their homes in order stay safe. While some may struggle to adjust to the sudden changes the pandemic has forced on many, rising sophomore and graphic design major Asha Altemus has managed to use this time in a productive way.

Altemus has taken time while quarantining at home to put her creative skills to use, continuing to create handmade items for her recently opened online shop from the comfort of her home.

Inspired by various artists such as Paula Scher and and Ashley Longshore, Altemus is drawn to bold colors, typography and playful designs that she tries to incorporate in her own artwork, whether it be pins for her sorority or New Orleans-themed prints.

Though she typically sells items such pins, stickers, buttons and painted prints, people also reach out to her with their own personal requests.

“Sometime around my 7th grade year or 8th grade year I really started getting into hand lettering and calligraphy and things like that,” Altemus said. “I’ve been doing it ever since, and some people have paid me to do some wedding invitations before in the past and hand letter envelopes for them.”

Though it is reasonable to assume that a relatively new, small business like Altemus’ would struggle in a time where distance from society is encouraged, sales seemed to have increased for the creator since the pandemic swept through Louisiana.

“Business within my shop and the things I’ve been selling actually hasn’t really changed very much,” Altemus said. “I think since I’m having more time to really sit down and design and come out with new things, people have just been buying as they normally would. I would say business has been maybe even a little bit better since I’ve had the time to create more products.”

Aside from the graphic design skills Altemus uses to create her products, her interests also expand into the world of photography, book-binding and fashion. Growing up with a seamstress aunt and an architect/artist for a grandfather, creative minds are a pattern in Altemus’ life and have influenced her to create material of her own.

“I think fashion is a really great way to express yourself without having to say very much,” Altemus said. “Hopefully, maybe sooner in the future, I actually might want to go back to school for fashion design. I think that would be really cool and something I would look forward to. Hopefully soon I’ll be making my own clothes for myself so that way maybe I can save myself some money.”

Altemus said she is using her time in quarantine to advance her career.

“It is a pretty depressing time, but being able to be at home for such a long period of time has actually been helpful. I’ve been able to sit down, and have more time to sketch, and draw, and design things, which has been really nice,” Altemus said.