Profile of Carly Ashdown

In 2004, Carly completed a degree in film and photography in Leeds which inspired her to go on to study and train in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the Tavistock Institute, London. During her studies, Carly discovered the philosopher Alan Watts and comedian Bill Hicks who inspired to question and explore relationships and the idea of personal transformation. The understanding of ourselves, the world and our place within it all has since influenced Carly and features predominantly in her art. Her passion for the arts and human interaction later open doors to a flourishing career in television, including the BBC and Channel 4. As time went on, her passion for drawing and painting eventually made her decide to pursue a career as a full-time artist.
Before starting a new piece, Carly Ashdown researches images taken from books, online and photographs. After selecting roughly about fifty, she then proceeds to sketch out studies and compositions in her sketchbook. These sketches are worked into various studies which eventually develop and evolve into potential compositions for her piece. Once she has settled on a particular composition, Carly draws a charcoal outline, washed over with water. After carefully selecting her colours in acrylics, Carly proceeds to drip the paint over the canvas, letting her mood or inspiration guide her. “I often find myself in a dialogue with the painting, listening to what’s being asked of me. I know in the first 10 to 20 minutes if I’m creating something with magic in it.” Inspired by Jackson Pollock and his technique of drip painting, Carly Ashdown creates a combination of vibrant colours, flicked onto the canvas creating stunning textures. To contrast with the instantaneous and energetic movement of the drip paint, Carly’s work focuses on the human form, in particular, the female figure which is often displayed as smooth, soft and elegant. In the final stage, Carly then proceeds to paint the background in white, creating a wonderful layer effect, finished with extra touches of shading if necessary. The entire process is described by Carly as a ‘chaos within a structure” which is also reflected in her work, creating her fabulous and unique style.