Artist Biography - Ashley Hanson
Ashley Hanson was born in Blackpool in 1960 and studied at the Department of Architecture at Manchester University 1977-78, the Blackpool and Fylde College, Foundation Course 1979-80 and then Canterbury College of Art where he gained a first class B.A.(Hons) in Fine Art.
In all his work, Ashley is intrigued by the impact of image on the flat, map-like, painter’s space, a...nd the dialogue and tension between the different realities of information and imagination - between what inspires and drives the paintings and the uncertainties and excitement of the painting process. As an artist he craves/needs surprise, not sameness: it is what you ‘do’ with the source material that matters, a piece must be its own thing, have its’ own life. Journeys, places, books, music, all generate ideas, providing catalyst and context, and colour always excites, but until it is resolved, a painting is a live thing, full of possibilities.
The dazzling charm of the natural Cornish Cost and its juxtaposition with the man made has provided inspiration for many of Ashley’s paintings. Striking, multi-layered canvases overloaded with colour, capture the atmosphere of the harbour towns of Cornwall.
As well as Costal scenery, the artist finds inspiration in a variety of sources, such as journeys, books, music. There are a multitude of ideas for new work circulating in the artists head, which he has to write down and express them before they vanish. His studio is filled with sources of inspiration, ready for reference as he works.
Starting as a photo-realist, working from blown-up photographs and a limited colour palette the artist. But after a while, Ashley realised that working from photographs was neither exciting or rewarding, and therefore turned to abstraction.
Starting with a canvas covered with random, expressive marks, Ashley sits back and makes some connections with the paint on the canvas and the concept of the piece.All the time during the process, the artist searches for sensation, expressed through vibrant colour combinations.
Ashley Hanson was awarded The Slade School of Art Boise Travel Scholarship to North America, where he made a series of train journeys around the states before painting for two months in a barn in upstate New York, at the home of the sculptor Jon Isherwood.
Hanson has continued making work about his experiences in the US, with the series Americascapes and The Englands, which enabled him to interlink paintings inspired by the coastal landscapes of Cornwall and New England.
The artists status as a renowned colourist and landscape artist has lead to his participation in Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, the Discerning Eye and the National Open Art Competition.
Ashley is also an teacher, experienced in run summer school courses, workshops and painting holidays. He is reliant and thankful for the support of his wife and business partner, Denise. Working as a team, he produces while she handles business aspects such as marketing, organising the workshops and painting holidays, and negotiating with galleries.
With his students, the artist follows the same philosophy and principles which he uses in his own working process. Starting with location drawings and then working on them in the studio, away from the subject, which leads to abstract elements.
Various events in Hanson's career have inspired, influenced and invigorated his interest in colour: An early admiration for the work of Peter Lanyon, especially Porthleven 1951; A lecture from Terry Frost whilst at Canterbury College of Art; The influence of Thomas Watt being Principal of Canterbury; A visit to the 1992 Matisse exhibition in New York and later his time spent at the Triangle Artists Workshop hosted by Sir Anthony Caro.
Ashley has exhibited national solo exhibitions as well as taking part in international group exhibitions since 1984.