The renowned skateboarding artist creating waves in Docklands

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Kaylah Joelle Baker

Watching an artist create a piece of work in their own unique way is always interesting, but not often are artists riding a skateboard at the same time.

Brett Ashby is a Melbourne-born international contemporary, public and performance artist and, as part of Renew Australia, he has set up a studio in Docklands where he can be seen creating work from his skateboard.

This passion for performance art has seen Brett entertain crowds at Bondi Beach’s Sculpture by the Sea Festival in 2014 and Melbourne’s Fringe Festival in 2019. He was also the inaugural resident artist at the former historic prison Pentridge, which was transformed into a community development space.

Following on from this success, his recent Inner Essence series has been met with a wave of intrigue.

“With Inner Essence I am bringing in a range of people from different industries and they come on the day and sit behind the easel, so they don’t get to see what is being painted until the end of the hour,” Brett said of his latest live series.

“There is no talking between the artist and subject, and the spoken word is being represented through the painting and the sounds … the interview is almost happening on the canvas.”

 

It’s a moment of being alive together through the experience, and in a way, people are being able to sit, feel alive, and celebrate what it is to be living and the freedom of what that is.

 

Among the large list of guests Brett has had as his subject, are a lawyer, architect, and an actress, and all have responded to the experience with much excitement.

 

 

Chef, writer and actor Sophia Dunn reflected on the sitting as something that “has changed [her] life”.

“It is as though layers of conditioning have been absolved. Essentially, I think the concept is all about love. The complicated nature of the human form/mind and breaking free of conditioning, so as to create a better world,” she added.

Australian singer Lisa Edwards also considered the opportunity to sit for Brett an honour.

“He is a very talented artist and is a true gentleman and very professional in how he works, engages and expresses his artistry, with a wonderful crew that works alongside him, in creating an enjoyable and entertaining atmosphere for both audience and subject,” she said.

Brett is currently working on a schedule of around nine subjects a week, for a mix of public and private viewings, and for each event there is a musician playing as Brett paints the subject using a paint palette of chakra colours.

On Thursday, March 30 from 4pm, Brett will host Dr Cristina Cooper who is highly skilled and successful in holistic health and wellness.

Dr Cooper’s practice in her chosen field holds special meaning for Brett who, as a cancer survivor, told Docklands News about the importance of being able to use his work to communicate about different ways of healing and health.

Shortly after this event, Brett’s next confirmed subject will be lawyer and My Kitchen Rules contestant, Zana Pali, on April 4 at midday.

Brett’s live art and fine art gallery can be found at 381 Docklands Drive. •

For more information and to keep updated with events in the future, visit: @brettashbyartist

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