Paul Ashton

Paul Ashton


In conversation with Humph Hack - Curator


Paul produces powerful figurative images where the quality of paintwork is an important element.

I asked Paul what made him want to add an MA qualification to the BA in Contemporary Art Practice. He told me , “I believe in Education of all kinds. The commitment needed to study that extra time has helped me realise my true potential”

As somebody once said, “making art is 99% perspiration and only 1% inspiration”.

Paul was clear that, his paintings have benefited from his wider interests. “I have studied and worked in Moviemaking, Performance and Soundtrack.

Is there a reason, that most of your work is figurative? “The human body and face can hide secrets, tell stories, and portray emotions. Hopefully my work can do the same”.

He has accepted commissions and found working with the subject interesting. “I am delighted, if the portrait becomes one of the most important things the sitter owns”.

He was lucky enough to beat 50 other artists, to be chosen as a Wild Card in a round of Sky Arts – Landscape Artist competition. “I chose to make the Baltic Art Gallery, front and centre of my painting”. He became a semi finalist.

I know you teach figure and portrait painting. “I can help anybody produce a two dimensional image, but a portrait is so much more, than a likeness.” Paul feels his teaching has been a success if his student can go on to work independently. “That requires a high level of commitment”.

Talking of commitment, Paul sometimes works 12 hours a day. Not everything gets finished but, “Unfinished work is part of the learning process”.

When I asked Paul about abstract elements in his work, he pointed out that in one sense any brush mark is, by definition, an abstract mark. “Bringing order out of chaos” is part of his approach to Art.


Often paintings begin as accurate realistic images, only later to have abstract elements added.

As regards the future? “I have done all sorts of things but for the moment making paintings has it’s hook in me.”

One thing is for certain, Paul has lots to keep him busy.

May 2024

Selected works

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