Milo and Mickey Asche — local artists painting for a future

Published 4:42 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Never has there been two people who embody the phrase “you can do anything you put your mind too” like Milo and Mickey Asche. The couple decided they wanted to paint, and paint, they do.

Ironically enough, the two first met each other doing a play called “Picture Perfect”, a dinner theater production. Milo played an art thief. A “picture perfect” beginning to a relationship where two people would learn to inspire and feed each other’s talents, and grow to become true artists together.

Katrina brought the couple to Picayune. Four months prior hurricane Katrina, they had purchased a home in Slidell, La. off of Highway 11. The home was still new to them. Sadly, too many of us know the ending to this part of the story.

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Fortunately for the Asches, Mickey worked for Chevron as a helicopter mechanic, and had done so for the past 21 years. He was already working out of Picayune. It was in Picayune that Chevron provided the couple with a trailer and some land with which to call home until they could purchase a new residence.

With things going okay, tragedy struck once again. One morning, approximately one month after the storm, on his way to work, Mickey’s knee blew out. I’m sure everyone remembers the nightmare of trying to find doctors, and surgeons after the storm. It would be a long down time for both of them. With Milo losing her massage therapy business, it too was washed away by Katrina, and Mickey not being able to work because of his knee, the two knew they would go insane with nothing to do. They chose not to wallow. One night while walking their dogs, the Asches decided they needed a hobby. It was in this moment the couple began to change the course of their lives.

The Asches went to an arts and crafts store in Slidell, La. and bought some paint, and a couple of water color “how to” books.

Milo said, “I didn’t want “how to” books, “I just wanted to throw some paint around and create something pretty.” However, they brought the books home, and set about learning a new craft.

Mickey’s first painting was an elephant he had seen in one of his books, and according to Milo, it was pretty good. “Mickey had always wanted to create,” Milo said. He used weekends and evenings away from his day job at Chevron to create things made from exotic woods such as rings and bracelets. He also spent some time making guitars, and music. Mickey took to watercolor and realism, and even though admittedly he is still honing his unique style, both would agree, he is the more technically skilled of the pair.

Milo’s first painting did not go as well. It was supposed to be a house with acrylics. “It was TERRIBLE,” she said, “I was so upset with it.” Milo decided realism was not going to be her style. Determined not to give up, she went back to the store and purchased some rope. She came home and glued the rope to the canvas and painted over it. She made two, painted one red, one blue, and called them “Bi-polar”. “It was gorgeous,” Milo said. “It really turned out well,” said Mickey.

From there, the focused, determined pair started looking to other artists, searching books, and studying collections, and found inspiration where they could. While they would paint, they would play tapes of motivational speakers, and inspirational music. At some point they stopped long enough to look around, and realized they now had more than 50 paintings laying around the trailer. Some great, some good, and some Milo stuffed in a box in the closet.

Mickey’s philosophy, “If you find something you love to do, you can’t fail at it, even if you mess up along the way.” I guess it’s the “mess ups” that ended up in the closet, but the fact that the two did not give up also means that they now have paintings for sale in stores both in Picayune and Slidell, and this past year, they obtained their license to sell their pieces on the fence at Jackson Square in New Orleans. “I have 100 bad paintings in my closet, but I didn’t stop painting. Once in a while I would stumble on something that was really cool, that led me in a different direction,” said Milo. She continued, “We now have art hanging all over the country and even as far as Dublin, Ireland.” said Milo. Now that’s putting your mind to something.

The Asches found a lot of support in Picayune both from local businesses and its residents. They bought a house about a year ago, and plan to stay. “We have met such great people in this town. The people have been really supportive, and so we will probably always live here, no matter how rich and famous we become,” Milo jokingly added.

The couple paints full time now, and are making a living from it. It’s a huge risk, but one they gladly take, because they are living the life they want to live. They hope to add to their new community and home town by bringing art to the forefront. “To actually get an affordable piece from a local artist — to me, it’s much more profound, it means more. It means more when you can see the brush strokes, and talk to the artist to see how they came up with it,” said Milo.

Mickey believes that his wife’s art speaks to people on a more emotional level than his, and mainly women. “Milo paints a lot from the heart,” said Mickey. “There are stories that go with my paintings,” Milo added. I love how the two complete each other’s thoughts and sentences.

Moving forward into the new year, the couple will continue to paint, and they are adding art lessons to their agendas. In January, the couple will start teaching at Gaise’s Gallery, both children and adult classes.

To grasp the fact that it all started with some determination, and a couple of “how to” books, I was more inspired in my half hour of talking to the couple than I can remember ever being, and will follow their life plan as a guide for my own. Just when I think I can’t, I will remember the Asches, and know that I can.

To learn more about Mickey and Milo, the classes, or to look at their collection, visit them online at