Ashley Smith was born and raised in Western Kansas into a family of medical professionals. Most of her childhood was spent recreating aspects of the family household. Smith challenged the family traditions by following an artistic path rather than the nursing path paved by her family for generations. She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Fort Hays State University and is now currently obtaining her Master of Fine Arts at University of Mississippi in metal cast sculpture. Her work is symbolic of her childhood love for working with her hands while leading the change of family traditions. In addition, Smiths' work in representative of her challenges with mental illness and encourages others to speak up about mental illness through the use of non-objective forms. Exhilarating Madness is an example of how despite having negative experiences with mental illness, Smith expresses joyful days by using steel to explode and pour out of cast iron spheres.