GENERAL EDUCATION: Library Elementary; Newsstand High
COLLEGE: B.A., Ernie Kovacs University of Visual Arts
M.A., Rod Serling School of Metaphysics
APPRENTICESHIP: Mikie, Leo (and all the other dead guys).
“Art is a series of ideas in search of the proper vehicle to transport the concept. Therefore, I feel it needs to be as variable and malleable as the subject, and the artist, as they move throughout their journey from mind to fruition.”
Using political, cultural and social imagery, Ashley’s paintings present an iconoclastic approach to our emblematic society. Satirically worshipped, the scope of subjects run wide: Greek art to Catholicism; Neo-Classical renderings of film, Pop, and political icons, sometimes juxtaposed in ironic compositions. Ashley often applies a broad range of painting styles and techniques to give a unique naturalism to otherwise conflicting subjects.
Integrating found objects with sculpture and painting, Ashley’s assemblages suggest a religious spirituality that evokes tribal rites and rituals. Combining symbolic elements of life and death, his assemblages are altars to an ever changing culture.
Rather than serving a captive and sympathetic audience, Ashley prefers the spontaneity and chance that goes with “street” or “guerrilla” art performances. His method of translating form to function gained him national notoriety in 1979, when he was expelled from the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts for the controversial nature of his paintings. Subsequently, his reactive art performance drew the attention of the news media, the support of the ACLU, and a State Supreme Court ruling in Ashley’s favor, protecting his first amendment rights.