a)I'm Ashley Reaks and I'm an artist, musician and darkly comic poet from the North of England.
q) How did you get into art?
a)As a teenager I used to copy the logos of my favourite punk bands and make posters for the many bands I was in. Apart from this it was only about 5 years ago when I began to make art more seriously.
q) Who has been the biggest influence on you?
a)The Do-It-Yourself ethic of punk rock gave me permission to express myself without any concers about ability or training.
q) Do you rule by any tendency in your creative work, or you only follow what comes in your mind?
a)I have very little technique as an artist so I just set off and see what happens. I trust the creative process and love watching the image unfold.
q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?
a)Whatever's at hand. I like the way children make things out of anything and I'm similar. I probably use collage most as I love the immediacy of it. I also do a lot of stuff in pen and ink. I like limitation.
q) How much does your environment have an effect on your pictures?
a)A lot. I've tried studios, sheds, spare rooms etc.. but have found that I work best in my main living space. In fact I exist best in one room. It's got something to do with needing to find a safe and private space when I was younger. Oddly enough though I can't make music at home and have to go to another location to do that.
q) Tell us about your studio space. Where do you work? Do you listen to certain types of music while working?
a)See above..The music I listen to whilst making art is often punk rock circa 1977 (Clash, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Ruts, X-Ray-Spex, Stranglers)...the music of my youth..and it has to be wearing headphones and LOUD!
a)Gaston Chaissac, Louis Soutter, Jean Dubuffet, Basquiat, Miro, Karel Appel, Francis Bacon, Nick Blinko, Jackson Pollock
q )When have you started using the internet and what role does this form of communication play for you, personally, for your art, and for your business?
a)I'm a technophobe so reluctantly entered the world of the computer and the internet ages after everyone else did! However, I now like it and it gives me a connection to other artists and like-minded people , who otherwise I would never even know existed! I have sold some pieces online but I'm too busy making stuff to stop and put the time in to selling my work.
q) What books are on your nightstand?
a)'Elvis and the Memphis Mafia', 'Things the granchildren should know' by E from Eels
q) What's playing on your stereo?
a)My new CD 'Melancholia, Joni Mitchell, PIL, The Beatles, early Elvis, Prefab Sprout, The Stranglers .
a)If I'm emotionally well then art is a conscious practice. I make sue the room's tidy, light a joss stick and listen to music with a cup of tea at the table. If not then I make stuff whenever and however, usually in short chaotic bursts inbetween doing a million other things.
a)If I'm in a depressive episode I tend to work in purely black and white. Othertimes I like deep red.
a)In the dead of night ...' 10pm - 6am.