Painter and illustrator Ashton Attzs is a queer, gender non-conforming artist based in the UK. They create vibrant, bold, and inclusive pieces which ensure every character is seen and celebrated. Already recognised by huge brands leading to collaborations and commissions with the likes of Costa and Coca-Cola to Adidas and Universal Music, Ash’s art is popping up all over the place, so we got in touch to find out what’s next. 


 When did your journey into this career begin? 

I’ve always been an artistic, creative person from a very early age. I always loved drawing as a child and making artwork to go on the walls. I’ve always been in an environment where my creativity has been celebrated and nurtured – I studied it in school for GCSE and A levels and then went on to do a BA in fine art at Central Saint Martins. After that, I reached a point where I wanted to make art that made me feel happy, so I started to experiment with creating my style which is very flat and bold and colourful and vibrant. I would say things began with my first painting series Queering the Quotidian in which my piece, Don’t Stay In Your Lane won me the Evening Standard Art Prize in 2018. From that point, my career snowballed and took shape.  


You’ve done a lot of really high-profile collaborations; do you have a favourite of them all or a brand which you feel resonates most with your style? 

A collaboration that comes to mind would be Universal Music, The Brit Awards 2020 – that will always be up there as one of the most incredible moments of my career so far. I love music so having the chance to work with one of the biggest music labels in the entire world and having one of the biggest music industry awards nights in the calendar was absolutely unreal. I did the invitations, the limited-edition prints that were given to the nominees, and I also designed the photographic backdrop in the press pit at the after-party, so I had a really big involvement. Seeing something come from a design into this tangible thing was so amazing and seeing people interact with it and holding the invites in their hands was extremely special. Another one I’d say was memorable would be the TK Max comic relief collaboration last year. I was one of several artists who designed a special t-shirt and a tote bag which were sold in-store to raise money for comic relief. Again, it was something very special because it was for a good cause. 


Tell us about your upcoming project with Little Experts. 

So, I’m working at the moment with an amazing writer and emergency A&E doctor called Dr Ronx. They’ve written a book called Amazing Bodies which is a book for children that informs them about the to educate young people feels really important. The book comes out on 6 July and it’s available to pre-order now. I think again that will be something really exciting to see out in the world and hear feedback from young children.  


What do you hope that your art makes people feel? 

I would say that for me it’s about making artwork that is joyful and makes me smile and I guess that extends to other people as well. I wanted to inject a lot of colour and vibrancy into what I made and I hoped that by doing that, it would make people feel joyful, seen and celebrated. My work is very LGBTQ+ focused and I am a proud lesbian and I’m masculine, I’m butch, I’m gender non-conforming, and I’m also mixed raced so there’s a lot of my identity that I represent within my work which I know other people will relate to. It’s not very often that you see someone that looks like yourself in art and that was something that I really wanted to provide. The characters in my work look so unapologetically queer and happy and embrace who they are. Making people feel seen and heard and joyful are the most important things to me.  


What do you practice as self-care? 

I’ve always been someone who’s appreciated different sceneries, but I think I used to take my local area for granted because I live in Bedfordshire with my family and we’re very close to a lot of open landscapes and countryside and fields that are untouched. Over lockdown going out for walks on a regular basis and immersing myself into the environment really made me feel better mentally so I think walking in the countryside is a form of self-care for me. Music is also a big one, my Spotify wrapped at the end of the year is always unreal in terms of the number of hours I listen to. I’m also a self-taught bass player, I’m not amazing but it’s something I do here and there, and I jam along to some songs. Lastly, I’m a huge video game fan – I love playing PlayStation 4 and my Nintendo Switch. I find them a great form of escapism and really tap into my big imagination.  


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

When I was in my first year of uni, I was in a lecture, the lecturer said to us all that realistically, only one or two people in the room would make it in the art industry. It wasn’t advice nor was it in any way constructive, but I’ve always been a very driven person, so I think I took that as fuel for the fire. I always wanted to succeed and do the best I could and when I heard that, I knew I was going to make sure that I was that person.  

What’s next for you? 

I think one thing I would really like to do is write and illustrate my own book – that’s always been a dream of mine that I hope in the near future I will fulfil. I would also love to learn spray painting and do some street art. I think seeing my art in some murals around the city could be really cool. I’d like to just continue what I’m doing, stay busy and take as many opportunities as I can.  


How will you be celebrating Pride month? 

I’m always extremely busy around Pride in terms of my commissions, so alongside working and creating art, I’ll probably just be spending time with my wonderful partner and friends enjoying their company. I don’t know if we will go to any of the big events, I’ll be at a couple of them for work but hopefully the weather will be nice so we can just sit out and enjoy life. 

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