Snowhawk began drawing at an early age. She was often drawing in class at school, resulting at one point in having her sketchbook being taken away by her English teacher in her sophomore year in high school. She drew her first anthropomorphic characters in the late '90s. She also began writing "scripts" (actually fanfiction) sometime in 1992 in response to the movie Batman Returns and "pretend play" with one of her friends. This eventually led to Power Rangers fanfiction writing, as she and her best childhood friend were somewhat obsessed with the show. Eventually, these writings also included themes from The Lion King and the Sonic the Hedgehog games.
After moving away from her childhood friend for high school, Snowhawk gradually moved into fanfiction for Star Wars, then tales of her adventures in the Macintosh game Escape Velocity. This last move led to her beginning to create her own fantasy world.
Snowhawk found the furry fandom in the late '90s while role-playing on AOL during vacation at her father's house. She was directed by a fellow role-player to the work of Megan Giles work on Elfwood, and that is when she learned that not only were there other artists out there with the same idea (of putting animal characteristics on human bodies, in a setting outside of cartoons), but there were communities of such artists.
Throughout her early writing and art period, Snowhawk always had a character to represent her. This character's name and appearance changed many times, always with some back story to explain the change.
After returning home, Snowhawk learned how to use her mother's 3-pass scanner and adjust her scanned images in Photoshop 3.0 to make them suitable for posting online. Under her real name, she joined Elfwood in November of 1999 as her first art gallery, and, being a mostly equine-based artist, started making "tours" of the anthropomorphic equine artists of the site. She had been maintaining a personal website, dubbed Nytehawk's Nest, first on the now-defunct hosting service Hot Yellow, then on FreeServers, under their 8m.com domain.
In 2000, after graduating from high school, she received her own computer, which allowed her productivity levels to increase. She dabbled in digital art more, using tools like the polygonal lasso to select an area and color it in with the paint bucket. She tested out various shading techniques at this time.
Little less than a year after joining Elfwood, she joined the Wyvern Library to upload some of her original stand-alone stories, and also started her soon-to-be-novel, Past Secrets. During this time she also settled on the name Snowhawk.
After having disagreements with Elfwood's decision to make their restrictive rule set even more restrictive, and worried over some of her work (which did not fit into either the Lothlorien or Zone 47) being pulled by the Elfwood Review Board, she pre-emptively pulled her work from Elfwood and Wyvern Library in February 2001, and started the process to delete her account.
For Christmas of 2001, Snowhawk received a package from her then-boyfriend. It contained an upgrade for her computer, and her first graphics tablet, a Wacom Graphire. Her days of digital art with a mouse or trackball were over, and she began to test out various methods of producing her art.
After Snowhawk decided to leave Elfwood, a friend from the Escape Velocity IRC chat room graciously donated some server space, and she moved her 8m website over. She first changed the name to Snowhawk's Nest, then to Aven Studios (combining her first and last name) and took on the task of rebuilding her website from the WYSIWYG version generated by 8m. In addition, she joined the comic hosting website KeenSpace for hosting of the webcomic version of her novel, and her close friend, Xella, helped her create the layout of the comic site. She used a place holder page on her main website while the rebuild was in the works. Erik gifted her with domain names for both the website and the comic site on her birthday in 2002. The rebuild of the main site began in June, 2002, and the pink version of the site went live in July 2002. In late 2002/early 2003, KeenSpace went down and never returned.
Whilst dealing with her personal sites, Snowhawk joined up with VCL in May, 2001, followed by Side 7 soon after, then YNA in November of 2001. She updated them often throughout 2001 and 2002, but left VCL in December 2002. She continued to maintain her YNA gallery until mid-2004. She decided to leave there, due to not feeling like she could contribute enough.
While working on maintaining three galleries, Snowhawk first started coding gallery-like pages for her website, and got the first iteration of her forum active, as well as installing the Gallery software to make maintaining her personal gallery easier. Unfortunately, in December 2002, the server her website was on (Nybble) went down, having suffered a hardware failure. She continued her online presence through art galleries only until she was put in contact with Gushi by Side 7 owner, Bad Karma. She restored her website in September of 2003, minus the gallery and forum. The forum returned in January 2004.
In early May, 2004, Snowhawk's productivity dropped off, as she started pet grooming school. She managed to continue work on the novel version of Past Secrets and also updated her website to its current blue color scheme at that time.
At this point, Snowhawk was only maintaining her personal gallery and her Side 7 gallery.
In May 2005, Snowhawk's computer suffered a critical failure, and all of her art and writing work from the previous years was lost. Most of her backup CD-Rs failed to work, though she managed to recover a few files.
In late July, 2005, Snowhawk decided to expand her online presence and joined Fur Affinity, shortly before the site's first set of server problems.
From this point, she began to expand her online presence further, joining several art sites, some of which are now defunct. In addition to the sites listed above, she is/has been a member of ArtSpots, deviantArt, Inkbunny, Furocity, Furiffic, Furry Art Pile, SoFurry, Storm-Artists.net, and Weasyl.
Though she has been known longest online as Snowhawk, leading to her friends simply calling her Sno, she has had many aliases over the years. Throughout her earliest years online, especially in the #ev IRC, she changed names frequently, being known as Ruby, Sophie, Gypsy, and Nytehawk, among others.
Starting in January, 2007, she was invited on board the team at fchan by her then-boyfriend, Raven, to help with moderating the site and responding to user generated reports. In the interest of not immediately associating her online and real life personas with a site that shares adult furry art, she adopted the name Samiya, and made her character to at first be an anthropomorphic saluki, who later became a saluki/husky mix.
While Ashley goes by the name Snowhawk, she also has a character in her novel's world of the same name. The original Snowhawk was the character, having been created to solve a problem in the original writing of the novel. After a period of time, Ashley adopted the character of Snowhawk, replacing Nytehawk, as she had grown to associate more with the former while writing.
She tries to distinguish between the two Snowhawks by only referring to the character by either her full name or "Snow" only. She prefers folks online to shorten her name to "Sno" if they wish to shorten her name. At one point, she distinguished between the two with character appearance, but has since adopted the character's final novel coloration.
Other online presences
Snowhawk has used various accounts for Second Life, with Samiya Rossini being her first main account (now a male alt modeled after a character in her novel). This account was used mostly while she was an fchan moderator, and she could often be found in #fchan with the name "SLSami" or "Sami-SL". The surname was picked as it just "sounded good" with the first name. After a break from Second Life, she returned as Samiya, but decided to try to distance herself from the furry community for a time after encountering some hostility.
The next account she used extensively was Misae Silverfall. Misae was the name of her World of Warcraft main at the time, and she picked Silverfall as homage to her real-life self's streak of silver hair. As of June, 2015, her current account is Snowhawk Przhevalsky. As Second Life had not yet removed last names, she picked Przhevalsky as it is a type of wild horse, though a far cry build-wise from the usual Arabian breed she normally depicts Snowhawk as.
She enjoys creating in Second Life, owning a small shop in world, and has taken steps to learn how to create better items.
Snowhawk is active in a small few MMOs at any given time. Her first was World of Warcraft, though she has not kept her account consistently active as she has in the past. She has been a beta tester and has a Founder account in The Exiled Realm of Arborea. She is also active in Elder Scrolls Online. Previously, she has been a tester for and played The Secret World. She has also played Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV.
The first "social media"-esque site Snowhawk took to was LiveJournal. She has several accounts there, having hopped around various accounts, but has landed back on her original journal. She created various communities for subjects ranging from fish, dogs, and Dance Dance Revolution, to a once semi-successful role-playing community based on her novel's world.
She has ventured onto [www.plurk.com/ Plurk], Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. She also maintains a Blogger site which chronicles her time in Second Life/InWorldz, WoW, TERA, and occasionally her real life.
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