This late blooming London artist expresses the beauty of black culture in his work

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The digital artist is rising fast

When looking at his body of work, it can be hard to believe that Ashley Straker was not considered a talented artist just a few years ago. Whether he’s his own toughest critic, or he really did improve at an amazing rate, Straker has arrived now, and his art speaks for itself. The London artist has made a name for himself by uplifting people of color with his work and we tracked him down to hear more.

1. How did you get into art? Were you self taught?

 I got into art during college but I was not very good at art, I was doing other subjects like biology and computer science and I really had no interest in these subjects longterm and I dropped all of them except Art and Graphics and focused all my time on art.
It was a pretty risky move (I wouldn’t recommend it lol) but I was confident I could get into an art university which I did and I studied Animation at Ravensbourne University in the UK. However my illustration and digital painting skills are all self taught.
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2. What are some of your favorite themes to explore in your work?

I love portraiture or human figure art especially women of colour, I always show my people in a positive light and express the beauty in our culture.
I enjoy painting people in a studio setting just like fashion photography, lighting is so important for how I paint. I love different cultures and spirituality too, I try to combine them all into my art.
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3. What is your creative process like as an artist?

I am digital painter so I do all my work on my laptop and a wacom tablet (pen). I always paint in greyscale first then add colour if I decide to.
My style is semi realistic so I practice a lot of the fundamentals of art, so lighting, anatomy, perspective etc. Its so important of anyone wanting to reach a certain level to always work on your craft, never stop learning.
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4. What would you change about the art scene in London if you could?

 I would like there to be more ethnic art events in London, there are a quite few events but you really have to dig to find them or know certain people involved in the scene.
So easier access to these type of events would be great.
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5. What are your dreams and goals as an artist?

My short term goal is to keep improving and expand my brand, open my online store.
My main long term my goal is to own my own studio and work with some amazing clients and brands. To be in a creative space where I can create anything I want and express my passions on a global scale and travel.

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