Rose Ashton – The Spectrum of Emotion and Colour
Local Bondi Artist Rose Ashton comes from a strong artistic heritage. With the launch of her up and coming exhibition “I am you and you are me “ this Thursday at Eastudio pop-up gallery; we chat to Rose about her muses, mentors, inspirations and how the bold color spectrum present in her current works, reflect the spectrum of emotions experienced in her past and present life.
How long have you been painting for?
My whole life, I come from quite an artistic family. Julian Ashton was my great great great grandfather who came over to Australia from England in the mid to late 1800’s.
He moved to Melbourne and was an Illustrator for a newspaper in Melbourne. He moved up to Sydney and started the (Julian Ashton) Art School, which is still run by our family today.
Cedric my grandfather was very influential to me as a child because I used to always look at his paintings. He did all these amazing paintings in the war when he was in the Navy, and I remember him showing me when I was a kid these dark night paintings of ships exploding. He said, “ Rose when all of the bombs and excitement was happening up the top, I used to sit in my cabin and paint as my escape”.
Where are all these paintings from your family now?
My family have some, some of Julian’s paintings are hanging in the Art gallery of NSW. Collectors have some of them, so they are all around, but the family still retained a lot of them.
How do you feel your style is an evolution of your family’s artistic heritage?
My style is very different to my family’s style. My family’s style is very traditional… it’s sort of like learning ballet before you learn how to hip hop dance.
They’re the ballet. I studied a little bit at the school and I tend to study more now but my style is a lot different.
How would you describe your style?
Colorful. It’s emotional I suppose. I think it’s a mix (of emotions). I’m a great believer in “ in order to understand happiness you have to understand sadness and vice versa” and so I think they’re a reflection of both happiness and sadness, like the spectrum of emotions and the spectrum of colours.
When do you find yourself most productive?
For painting? At night. I painted until the sun came up this morning.
For the exhibition, a lot of the works were done up until the sun came up. It’s a funny feeling because it’s not like you were out drinking and the sun came up and you’re feeling terrible about yourself. I actually had a moment where as I was finishing one of the works for the exhibition and the sun came up and thought to myself “ I should feel guilty! But you know what I don’t!”
It’s the witching hour. It’s so good! A lot of the stuff that I’ve done, I’ve been like “ I’m just going to go to bed… actually I’ll just go down and do one more… Ill just go and do one” Then I’m so glad I did that!
Are the works you are showing in the Eastudio exhibition in a story?
The name of the exhibition is “I am you and you are me” and they are in a story because they were done comparatively with one another so it’s a similar colour palette and similar muses.
I use my niece…I have this beautiful niece Jade who is my muse for this exhibition as well as a couple of other people.
What else inspires you?
I recently met the artist Anthony Lister. I spent a bit of time with him in his studio and he opened my eyes to a few things for which I am extremely grateful.
Always the consistent inspiration is my family and the idea of the legacy of art, being the mark that I make in my life and leave behind, so that’s my inspiration.
You do a bit of writing as well, is there a particular topic you like to write about?
Love… the world, pain, loss, happiness, sadness, emotions. It’s all very emotional, and that’s the vulnerable thing about it. Also in my paintings, these paintings, they mean so much to me and they’re different expressions of things I’ve gone through.
This collection is like a spilling out of all different things, heralding a new phase of my work so it’s quite raw.
Do you feel that it takes a lot of energy to create this way?
It gives and it takes . I’ve never had so much energy in my life than I do right now. It’s given me a lot but it’s taken at the same time.
How do you feel you have evolved your work?
Though practice and observation, practice and observation are key teachers, and being open to finding a mentor.
Have you got any advice to give emerging artists?
Just do it, create, all day everyday as much as possible. That’s the important thing.
But most of all you have to believe in yourself, having a mentor or having that encouragement and support around you can help garner that confidence and courage that you need, and you need a hell of a lot of courage.
How do you balance your art and everything else in your life?
I prioritise my art and everything else I try and work around it.
I’m lucky because I’m at an age where I’ve worked long enough that I can now afford to put a little bit more time into my art than I could previously which great, and this year I’ve begun meditating which helps me balance everything.
Where can we find your work?
Check out the “ I am you and you are me “ exhibition by Rose Ashton, launching this Thursday December 5th 6pm at Eastudio Pop-Up Gallery above The Beach Road Hotel Bondi Beach.
By Maria Maung