Five minutes with… Ashley Hold, MA, RWA

Ashley Hold is an artist based in Falmouth, a Royal West of England Academician, and an alumnus and Associate Lecturer of The Falmouth School of Art at Falmouth University.


What are your current obsessions?Ashley Hold 2

I’m currently finishing a large and fairly complicated painting based on the nocturnal landscape, a subject that has been an obsession since I was at school. My other long-term obsession is piano music; I am currently working on Chopin’s Ballades, nos 1 & 3.  I have always loved photography and have recently started making videos documenting my hiking, rafting and climbing adventures; I get really obsessed with the editing process.



What is your first art memory?

My family had no interest in the arts but I grew up on Woodlane, next-door to Falmouth School of Art, and as a youngster I used to play in, and around the Woodlane campus, wandering through the studios, where I’d see some of the weird and wonderful things students were making.


(c) Ashley Hold, Trelawney Avenue, Spring, 2004, 95 x 122cm, oil on board

(c) Ashley Hold, Trelawney Avenue, Spring, 2004, 95 x 122cm, oil on board

What is your relationship with Cornwall and how does it impact on your practice?

I’m a native of Falmouth. I grew up in a house on Trelawney Avenue and as a child would climb the garden wall to peer into the garden of Belmont House, which is where I now do most of my teaching. My experience of the landscape and light is right at the heart of my practice, though, mainly because it is an environment I am deeply connected to, through family and personal history.



Tell me about the last exhibition that stayed with you:

Karen, (c) William Ashley Hold; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Karen, (c) William Ashley Hold; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

I had the good fortune to visit the painter Antonio Lopez last year and was as impressed by his modesty and candour as I was by the mastery, integrity and commitment of his work. Hence, I was keen to visit an exhibition at the Palacio Real in Madrid, which traced the history of portraits of the Spanish royal family, with wonderful paintings by Velazquez and Goya, ending with a huge group-portrait of the current, beleaguered royal family, painted by Lopez over a period of twenty years.

On first glance the huge, light-filled canvas seemed to fulfill my apprehension of a panegyric to a royal family whose reputation has recently suffered as the result of a series of public scandals. But I quickly realized Lopez’s acute observation extends well beyond the painterly concerns of space, light and surface; as well as the familial bonds, the tensions and psychological stresses are clearly visible; the spaces between the figures, like seismic fractures, offer a perceptive commentary on familial dysfunction. For me the undefined spatial context of the family group, painted in broad washes of light tones, suggest uncertainty about the role and status of royalty.


 Ashley has exhibited in the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, The Hunting Arts Prizes at the RCA, The Discerning Eye and The Royal Society of Portrait Painters at the Mall Galleries. he has been awarded prizes from the Mall Gallery and The Hunting Art Prize.

Ashley will be one of the tutors leading the Figure Painting strand of the Falmouth School of Art Intensives, 6-10 July 2015 – 


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