Ashley Straker is a digital artist based in London who has a BA honours degree in Animation but because he is so talented he taught himself how to paint. His love for art began at a very young age so he started doodling and sketching. It wasn’t until his last year of college when he decided to purse a career in art. He started learning the fundamentals of drawing and painting through books and the internet.
His imagination has allowed him to paint imaginary environments which he says come from studying real life environments and a lot of reading. “I think that is very important to making paintings look believable”, he says. Ashley would love to visit the places he paints despite the actual existence of the places.
Ashley is inspired by a lot of things, music is definitely included as it is a major part of the painting process. Neo-soul, R’nB and jazz are what is constantly on his playlist as he paints his master pieces. He looks up to artists and illustrators like Jeff Simpson, James Zapata and Feng Zhu when he creates his pieces. It is no surprise that Ashley loves fashion photography, based on his work you can see that he is a visual man. He likes high contrast photos as well as anything that is graceful and has a sense of meaning.
“ I have always been fascinated with the discussion of ‘aesthetics’, what is considered beautiful, how can beauty be defined? This is synonymous with art, what I consider ‘beautiful’ can be ‘ugly’ to many others which is okay because everything is subjective, we all have different opinions, that has always intrigued me. The fact that we see everything differently in our own unique way”. – Ashley Straker-
The ‘Afro Series’ is the one that got most of my attention because Ashley drew these gorgeous, fierce and graceful black women. Ashley says the serious stemmed from his need to create something personal to him by expressing his appreciation and giving positive messages to women of colour. His paintings are similar to Greek statues but their connection to Africa and The Caribbean culture (where he is from) is very evident. Although the goddesses are frictional characters, they are based on different real women.
‘Kianga’ which means sunshine is Swahili and ‘Lesedi’ which means light in SeTswana are some of the names Ashley gave to the goddesses he painted. “Having names makes the painting have more personality and people can relate to them”, he said. I sure was hooked and related with the beautiful women who are works of art both literally and figuratively.
“I think it is important to add narrative to art, it can lead to many interesting stories”- Ashley
To see more of his work check it on: