Danny Ashton

This artist has works that are available for purchase! Please contact info@thejusticeartscoalition.org for more information on which pieces are available, price, etc. Please put “Interest in purchasing (Piece(s), Artist’s Name)” in the subject line. 

About the Artist:

“Having gotten certification in art teaching as well as majoring in art and art history, I have been lucky to have seen and studied all of the styles of art throughout history. When asked who my favorite artist is, I find it difficult to pin down one specific one. There are aspects of almost every style that I find interesting or appealing. But, I do lean towards artwork which has more realistic depictions of life rather than artwork which has abstract or expressionist works. That has a lot to do with my personality. If I have something to say, I like to be direct and obvious, rather than (like in abstract works) subtle, leaving people open to differing interpretations of what I’m trying to say. Having been a teacher and having dabbled in advertising art, I have learned how important it is to make the message clear and obvious.

As for the actual style of artwork, again, I prefer realistic depictions which (with a few exceptions) include any artwork produced between the mid-to-late Renaissance up to the impressionist period (and I’m talking paintings, mostly). I like works in which it is obvious that the artist has a lot of skill, training and talent. Ingres is one of my favorites as far as that goes, with his tightly controlled brush strokes and creative use of light and shadow.

Compositionally, I like artworks (and make my own artwork) with a lot of detail, a lot “going on” in them.  I like a painting that, wherever you look, there’s something interesting to see. In this category, I actually do like one abstract artist: Kandinsky.  It is said he often listened to jazz music while painting and titled many of his works with musical terminology (i.e. composition, improvisation, etc).  You can see this in his works, with the arrangement of geometric forms creating a kind of movement throughout the entire compositions.

But, I think the one artist that encompasses all of these aspects (direct message, realistic style, good composition) is George Caleb Bingham, an American artist working mostly in the first half of the 19th century.  A majority of his works (with a few exceptions) are narrative, a story, a “slice of life” regular people engaged in everyday activities. He brilliantly uses light and shadow realistically and arranges his compositions with a lot of little details throughout, which is what I like to do in my artwork. 

All of the artists and styles mentioned influence my work. But, I think his stuff comes closest to the style I use in the “car” pictures. I just had a few rules. I wanted the cars to be the main focus, the width of them coming to within 1-1.5″ of either edge of the paper. I tried not to have anything covering up the cars much. If I did, I would put something in a big empty area, like a side door, and I never put anything covering up the details of the front. As with most of my artwork, I never let there be any big empty areas. Wherever the viewer looks in the picture, I want there to be something to see.

So, generally, in all of my artwork, I like a very realistic style with a clear message (no symbolism or hidden meanings) and a composition in which there are no big, open empty areas, something interesting to see in every area of the picture.”

Read a guest blog post by Danny Ashton here.

2 thoughts on “Danny Ashton

  1. My friends Sacha and I were discussing your work posted on our JAC site and on Prisoner Express, and we wanted to share some thoughts.

    One of the things that moved us the most was the emotional tension. It was between the alienated man, the outsider, an apparition materializing in every scene, and the pulsating life surrounding him. He struck us as an artist, perhaps, a solitary figure, no matter how large or joyous the crowd was. I thought he could have been one of us in our 20s — caught in a space between sensitive and numbed out.

    We noted this odd figure peering through the spaceship window in A Misunderstanding, wearing headphones by the tree in Fall Semester, or outside the club in his car, looking in (Bassoon Playing). His features, unlike the others, were doughy and childlike. He was a recognizable part of us — we who were not quite formed, not quite with it — and we felt great compassion for him.

    We felt this compassion all the more intensely because there was so much of life he was missing out on — the myriad actions and interactions the human comedy conveyed on a grand scale — dancing (75 Pontiac), fighting (Twitchy’s and A Misunderstanding), sinning, chatting, eating and drinking (Bassoon Playing, hawking fish (New Arrivals), kissing (Fall Semester), a play on Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (1500).

    The details and gestures all ring true, like the rosy hue of the candles in Bassoon reflected on the faces around the table. Then there emerged out of these very life-like depictions, other incongruities, hard to explain, leaving much to the imagination, resonating mysteriously. Cars (and a carriage) take center stage dominating the scene in a hallucinatory way, like the holo in Misunderstanding, their engine hearts pulsating with cosmic energy.

    Let’s not leave out the dear cats, belonging to no one in particular but belonging nevertheless, like the one with the mouse in his mouth in Bassoon, trotting between the tables. But nothing felt more out of place than the alienated artist, the stranger in our midst, aching to belong. We won’t be forgetting him or his world anytime soon.

    Thank you, Louis

  2. Danny, I like your work for several reason, probably the main being that it invokes someone you don’t mention, Norman Rockwell. I’d call you the “contemporary Rockwell.” You can most likely earn a nice living doing work for Chambers of commerce, counties, states, etc. Best you-Long Island, ex-con artist, Leonardo

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