New Zealand b. 1971
Ashley Shaw was born in Auckland and moved to Berkshire, England at the age of five. He showed a passion for art from a young age and at the age of eight won a national art award with his drawing of a Jubilee coach.
After leaving school, Ashley entered an apprenticeship with the Italian sculptor and painter Rudi Musu, under whom he learned to make elaborately carved furniture and public sculptures, while also completing private painting commissions and spending his personal time studying and admiring the works of the Old Masters, teaching himself their techniques and copying those he admired. It became an obsession: "I spent days examining their work, trying out their brushwork. I would paint through the night. Learning through copying, copying, copying."
But it was the works of J. M. W. Turner, the master of light whose luminous expressions of his own romantic feelings brought him critical acclaim and most intrigued the young artist: "What you paint is how you feel about a scene. What you see, how you react to it, how you perceive it as an individual - it is emotional."
Shaw's fascination with and admiration of the Old Master painters led to him studiously exploring and researching their use of media, brushwork and general techniques. Consequently, Shaw works consistently on Belgian Linen with Old Holland oils, which are renowned to be one of the top three paints in the world, being noted for their pure pigments and oil content with top lightfast qualities and density of pigmentation. His frames are all hand-made and individually designed for each unique work. They are generally completed in 'composition leaf', which is less delicate than the genuine gold, which requires cotton or silk gloves to handle the frame.
Ashley has had a selection of mixed exhibitions and solo shows, at galleries in Eton, Bristol, London and more recently back at 'home' in Christchurch. His work is part of numerous private and public collections in Europe, America and Australasia including those of The Chambers in London, Forsyth Barr in Christchurch and the Woking Borough Council.