Ashvin Harrison

We go behind the scenes with Ashvin Harrison to uncover his new studio and take a closer look at his creative process.

Favourite material to work with?

Charcoal, as I enjoy the concept of turning dead matter into a representation of beautiful life.

What themes do you pursue?

I focus on creating pieces that explore my perspectives on the philosophies around existentialism and absurdism. I like to offer society an acceptance and appreciation for the raw foundations of existence; nudity, diverse beauty, death and emotional reaction.

How many years an artist?

I started painting random objects in 2012 after my grandad died.

What should people know about your art that they can't tell from looking at it?

All of it focuses on the balance of good and evil within us all. I visually share the harsh contrasts of existence and sometimes hint at the powerful distraction of emotional reaction.

Which living or dead artist would you most like to meet?

I’m in love with Renaissance art pieces. I’m not particularly inspired by any one visual artist though and rarely find inspiration from art. I am most inspired by musicians and philosophers. I’d have to go with the most obvious though and meet Leonardo De Vinci. I want to know why he is depicted in portraits with a hint of frustration, at least as I see it.

Tell us about your studio. Location, clean, cluttered, big, small, etc?

I just bought a house in Scarborough, Morton Bay with a beautiful studio built in. The studio is quite large with white walls and timber floor. I like it clean and organised. I have a simple white desk setup with posing couch and packaging area near the entrance area. The room is very well lit. I always choose to live on a relatively busy road as silence leads me into deep depressing thought. The sound of occasional cars and people passing help to sooth my mind and feel a sense of positive motivation.

Art school or self-taught?

I’m a completely self-taught artist, using unique techniques to achieve my style- so I’m told.

Do you prefer to work with music or in silence?

I always play music. Mainly I listen to the Deftones or Nine Inch Nails, though also quite a bit of meditation and orchestral compositions.

Favourite brush?

Maybeline makeup brushes. I paint the charcoal on with those.

Where can we find you outside of the studio?

The beach, the gym, cafes, shopping, exploring.

If you couldn't be an artist, what would you do?

I’ve had about 30 different jobs since the age of 13. I’m now 32 and still don’t know what job I want. I think ‘artist’ works for me right now.

Interests other than art?

Working out, beach activities, building/gardening, cooking, travel, attending events, food and wine!

What do you collect?


What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

I haven’t had any yet. I read that packaging your work up safely is a good idea though. I’m now doing that.

Are there messages within your work?

Many, many, many. I’d need a book to write about it. Everything I create has a deep and emotional reason. Something I felt that day, a conversation or a secret I will explore. I don’t share much about who I am with friends or people in general as I’m just not made that way. I often resort to being funny or asking about others. Art allows me to share my thoughts. I do share my focus on what it is to be alive through art and how we should all accept and love the natural beauty of nudity, animal forms, nature and the intensity of eyes. I’m frustrated at how media can blur nudity, but show war, destruction and violence!

What does your art process entail?

Depends on what I’m creating, but usually an emotional reaction to something, a sketch, some charcoal expression and then some pondering as I decide if the music is pushing me to lash out in colour.

What are your inspirations?

People who show me the diversity in beautiful existence. I’m inspired by interactions with different people and how they see the world and themselves. I think about this in great detail and try to make sense of why we are here. I then listen to music, which looks at the same topics and I bring it all together.

Which art materials could you not live without?

Nothing. I’d create from whatever I have.