Malcolm Ashman was born in Bath, Somerset in 1957.
Malcolm is a painter working in oils, acrylics and pencil.
He is a member of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) and Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI), and has exhibited widely in London and the South of England, including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Threadneedle Prize, the Royal Watercolour Society Competition and the Derwent Drawing Prize.
He lives and works in Bath.
“When I was 7 my parents bought a painting from an artist who was selling door to door. It was the first painting I’d ever seen, real paint on canvas. It was a landscape, Lake Como, and the most exotic thing I’d ever seen.
Before that my experience of painting had been from books, my main source, bought with pocket money aged 4 years, were the Ladybird books ‘What to Look for in Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter.' These early influencers are still some of my most treasured possessions.
Growing up in a small village the landscape dominated my life, a place of safety to play in. Spurred on Tunnicliffe and my daily surroundings I decided I would be an artist.
The landscape has remained that place of play and experimentation, an escape route, somewhere to reflect and follow that 4 year old’s impulse.
Alongside this runs a desire to engage with others, something I avoided for a long time.
Recent drawings and paintings of the male figure began as a personal exploration of where I fitted in. Growing up, keeping a low profile, I’d never really known. The only requirement to ‘be a man’ it seemed was to be angry. My early experiences had been of the pack where individuality was rejected often violently. Removed from that group dynamic most people behave differently and reveal something of their true selves.
Drawing and photographing someone is an intimate process and it’s important for me to converse and exchange ideas while working, it makes the work collaborative rather than simply observational. Spending time with people on an individual basis uncovered truths that gave me some comfort as we discussed anxieties and aspirations. There is always some common ground to be found.
The results are not simply portraits of others but self-portraits too. The latest fragment drawings and interventions chart my own feelings of disempowerment and the anxieties of growing older, of disappearing and in the wider world, feelings of political helplessness. I’ve always been drawn to the melancholic, I find many artists are. That said, the simple act of making is an optimistic one. The driving force behind all of this is one of problem solving, that overwhelming desire to apply order and make some kind of sense of it all. To date I’m still trying.”