Getting to Know Rose Ashton

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Sydney-based artist and model Rose Ashton talks to about fundamentalism, art, communes, joke-telling and boobs:

I am doing my best to be the best human I can. As I grow I look back and forward and smile and learn from my many mistakes and make new ones. I look to the left and right when I cross the road to appease my mama. I am an Artist. I work as a model and (sometimes) an actor. Over the years I have spent thousands of hours in restaurants and bars helping people have enjoyable moments, and I love all of these things – I know that because they only feel like work when I’m really tired. I genuinely love to be doing a thousand things at once and seeing people smile – even if it’s not at my jokes. Those need some work, I’m told. Humour is the key. Anything is possible with humour close by.

Art is the one thing I could never let go of without fragmenting entirely. I have been blessed into a family which is defined by our artistic forefathers. My great great grandpappy Julian Ashton was an English artist who travelled to Australia in the late 1800s and founded the Art School we still run today. There are and have been many Ashton artists since him. I am proud to be one of them. I strive to attain the skills and courage to be as good as they were and are and I am focused on that more than anything else at this point. Art is where I turn when I’m alone and surrounded and happy and sad. I see drawings in the faces of people around me and I capture moments and shapes when they aren’t looking. Sometimes it gets awkward when they are. Like on the beach. Chicks get weird when they see a creepy girl with a pen and paper staring at their boobs. I get it. So I try and keep it on the DL there.

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I’m inspired by everything. Everyone. Girls and boys and women and men. Friends who love what they do and the life that they live. Courage inspires me. Boobs inspire me. Other artists terrify and inspire me. My mother inspires me. My niece is my muse. This interview inspires me. Happiness inspires me. Sadness inspires the hell out of me. Yesterday inspires me. The mystery of tomorrow keeps the brush on the canvas.

Rose Ashton interviewModelling is a great blessing punctuated by some weird ideas and thoughts. I can’t deny that I am a very very lucky lady to be taken to wondrous and magical locations all around the world and get my picture taken. I am so grateful for what I have been privvy to through modelling over the years. But I never wanted to just be a model- so it’s not enough to satisfy my thirst. I use what it gives me and I make that into art. I paid for my exhibition from my jobs last year and that was rad. I’m in Mexico modelling on the best job ever but I have a pen in my hand the whole time and draw on streets and gutters and fence posts and serviettes and balloons and in my sketchbook the whole time. To combine all the things I love doing is amazing. I’ve never been happier than right now. The combination of art and modelling is pretty cool.

I spend too much time looking at my phone. Definitely working on that. And I spent years upon years wondering who I am and if I’m good enough or funny enough or pretty enough or cool enough – I don’t do that as much anymore because I have seen friends pass away earlier than should be allowed and it’s reminded me that to waste your life inside the myriad of dark corners your mind can trick you into is a slippery slope into stagnant years. I still have doubts, but I’ve leant how to shhhh them more quickly. Talking about it with my amazing friends helps. We are all victims of our own mind- but we are not alone, that’s what i know.

Rose ashton interview 2Sydney is a great city to call home and come home to. I was lucky to grow up on the northern beaches. Right now though I am enjoying being overseas. I am moving to The US after this trip and I’m super psyched for the artistic inspiration that will no doubt bring. Being Australian is an incredible gift – being places other than Australia really nails that in. I was talking to an American friend recently who said “this place is fucking rad and fucking weird. You guys are just down here at the bottom of the world on this amazing island just hanging out and having a great time all alone and cut off from the rest of the planet.” He’s got a good point. I want to get amongst so many cities in the coming years and paint on walls and paper and canvas in each one. But I’ll always go home. Bondi has been my home for many years. I love that town. Julian lived there too which is weird and awesome. I wonder if he ever imagined his great great granddaughter would be painting pictures on the beach one hundred years after he did. That’s a trip.

I’m currently listening to Hanni El Khatib – he is my new favourite human and musician. He was on the job I am on at the moment along with some of the best people I’ve met- and listening to his music, his lyrics, seeing his talent first hand- has been very very cool. He’s a great great artist.

It might surprise people to learn that I have a massive fascination with cults, communes, religions and fundamentalism. I generally go through one at a time. I’ve done Bahai / Buddhism/ Christianity/ Mormonism/ Fundamentalist Mormonism (that one went for YEARS)/ Hare Krishna/ The Source/ The Family/ Children of God and other ones in between. I’m about to go to Utah for a job and I am beyond excited to see that state first hand. Personally I am not religious but definition- I find such wonder in the idea that people choose to define themselves by something that isn’t for sure. I pass no judgement, and I believe that in a way there is a necessity for religion to exist. Humans need meaning. Without meaning what is there? Some people take that need to exceptional heights.

In the future I hope to be as happy as I am today. I hope to be doing what I’m doing until the day I die. And along the way perhaps falling head over heels with a person who’s not just on a piece of paper or canvas would be nice. But that’d just be icing on an already delicious cake. As long as my family and friends are happy and well and loved then I’ll just keep up my own work and try to tell them the funniest jokes I can. I know they’d appreciate a bit more effort in that department.

You can stay up to date with Rose by following her on Instagram, her Facebook page and by keeping an eye on her website.

bobby townsend


Rose Ashton interview by Bobby Townsend