Saturday, 5 September 2015

Shelley Ashkowski (Shelley SupernovaArts)

Hi Guys,

Hope the week has gone well for you.

I wanted to introduce you to Shelley, I first saw her art on Deviant Art when I did the feature on Peony art.  This is the Peony that Shelley had drawn in red biro.  I love how Shelley's art is so realistic.

One of the main points that attracted me to a lot of Shelley's work is that it's done with biro, sometimes simple is best (although, we all love art supplies!)

Shelley has a few different styles of art in her galleries (i'll include all her links within the article as well as at the bottom of the post.

I love flowers, peonies are one of my favourites, if not the favourite hence having used them in an article previous based on where to find artists work (you can find that article HERE), Shelley has drawn a few different flowers, here are a couple more. The first is titled 'Dad' and is dedicated to her Father (drawn with black biro) and the second is 'Garden Party' again all drawn with various colour biro pens.

Shelley also does some very intricate artwork in her Cities range, this artwork is incredible.  I love art created with abandon but straight lines and precise art is also a passion of mine.  I love architecture and the following artwork just screams at me.  The first is Big Ben and the other is Paddington station both in London.  How intricate are these two pieces of art! They look like photographs, amazing!

The next couple of pictures come from Shelley's 'Still Life' album, the first again with biro and is a still life composition of some vintage sweets from England, when Snickers were better known as Marathon (some of these brought back memories for me from when I was younger, particularly the Cabana bar!)

The second still life is a piece of work that Shelley did for a gift for a colleague, I love the reflections in the silver platters and the transparency of the wine glasses.  Shelley created this one with coloured pencils, so pretty, exactly as afternoon tea should be.

There is nothing I love more on a quiet afternoon than looking through a talented artist's gallery.  Shelley also has some animals that she has drawn on her Facebook page, you can find that HERE.
I love her depiction of a Lion and Tiger, it's just beautiful.

Shelley also likes to do art inspired by Aboriginal styles, here are a couple of examples.  This piece was created for and donated to breast cancer awareness, it's an acrylic painting on canvas.

This 'Aboriginal Fish' was the first picture that Shelley did in this style.

Aboriginal art is one of the oldest types of art in the world and consists of lots of little symbols that had a meaning.  Shelley has captured that style beautifully I think.

So let's meet Shelley, as with all the featured artists that I have on my blog she has been kind enough to answer some questions.

Please tell us a little about you Shelley...

My name is Shelley Ashkowski from Wiltshire. I am 30 something (I’m so old I forget exactly how old!)

Tell us about your art – what you do now and have done in the past?

I have always loved art from a young age. I went on to study it at college and university and decided to become an art teacher so I could share my knowledge and passion for the subject. I have been a full time art teacher (and head of faculty in recent years) for over 15 years. 

Most of my art has been specifically aimed at developing my knowledge and skills for my teaching role. 

However, when I took maternity leave a few years ago I decided to use my ‘spare’ time to developing my art skills purely for my own enjoyment. 

This is the point where I discovered my passion for photorealist drawing and ever since then I have continued to improve my skills in this field. 

I started with portraiture but I have since explored themes including nature, cityscapes and still life. 

Although I began my photorealist exploration using pencil I quickly ventured into biro as this is a medium I have always loved. I continue to explore other drawing media but the biro will always be my favourite.

What is your earliest creative memory?

I was inspired by my father as a young child. He was a talented artist and was particularly good at cartoons and caricatures (something I am rubbish at). He used to draw caricatures of family members and I remember seeing them around the house.

Do you ever suffer from a creative block and if so how do you get yourself out of it?

I do sometimes but not very often. I usually have the opposite problem of too many ideas but not enough hours in the day to act upon them. 

If I do have creative block I simply don’t draw for a while (possibly a week or two) and come back to my visual resources with fresh eyes. 

I quite often start pieces that I lose enthusiasm for though and my portfolio is full of half-finished work. One day I vow to go back and complete them all!

Who inspires you?

As a young child my father inspired me. In fact both of my parents were very creative and very much encouraged me to pursue my artistic career. In recent years I take my inspiration from the many great (and often underrated) biro artists including: Samuel Silva, Allan Barbeau, Mark Powell, Juan Francisco Casas and many more.

What is your favourite piece of work that you've created?

A tough question! I think my mind changes month upon month but I would say that I am particularly proud of my biro piece called ‘Paddington’. It’s an A2 drawing and took me several months to finish. It’s a study of a photo I took which I am also really pleased with so it ticks all of the boxes. 

The image has just the right level of architectural structures and the contrast of dark and light was (in my opinion) perfect. Perhaps a less technical piece that I hold dear to my heart is my biro flower study ‘For Dad’. I had started drawing it when my dad was very ill and sadly he passed away. I completed the drawing for him so it is very special to me.

I love that you work a lot with just a biro – what made you choose that medium?

I have always loved biro. I’m not sure exactly what it is that I love so much but I think it is probably a combination of things including: the cross-hatching method is very repetitive but also somewhat therapeutic; the richness of the tone and colour far surpasses pencils (and I really like high contrast images); and the medium requires a high level of precision and the control freak in me enjoys this challenge.

What are your creative ambitions for the future?

I am passionate about drawing so I would like one day to become as good as the best in the field. 

I would also love to become a good painter but I really need a studio space to be able to work on my skills..I have shown my work in some local establishments but it would be a dream come true to have my work shown in a larger gallery. 

I do have grand ideas of one day returning to university to complete a masters degree; although I’m not sure how realistic that is with my parenting and teaching responsibilities!

How do you silence your inner critic?

I don’t feel I need to. I am an absolute realist so I don’t have grand ideas that I am better than everyone else but equally if I have done something good then I will be honest about how proud I am. My husband is also a very analytical person so he is good at helping me keep things in perspective.

What do you do when you're not being creative?

My life consists of being: a parent, a wife, a teacher and an artist. 

When I’m not doing all of these things I love food so cooking and eating out make up a lot of my social time. I also love reading, photography and going on holiday to sunny destinations (although not as often as I would like).

Tell us where we can find your work and your social media sites.

I've been inspired by Shelley's work, I love that something so realistic can be created with a biro .. I'm not very good at drawing, I can doodle and draw little cartoon figures but that's about it..... seeing your work has inspired me to give it a go (whatever the outcome!). 

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions especially with how busy you are and for being completely open regarding some personal stories linked to your work.

Thank you for reading, please go and visit Shelley's sites and see some more of her beautiful work.

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