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Ash Keating

It’s taken me a long time to finally get the chance to photograph Ash Keating’s studio - he’s someone who’s been on my radar for a very long time both as an artist and through mutual friends. I was excited when he reached out and told me that he had recently completed his new studio. It’s a custom-built space in a factory shell that has been designed to suit the scale of his paintings, which are created by filling an airless sprayer or recycled fire extinguishers with paint. Usually I focus in on the details inside an artist’s studio, but I found it refreshing to take a step back and try to capture the expanse of Ash’s work.

Ash has exhibited extensively in Australia since 2004, including at the Monash University Museum of Art, Art Gallery of Ballarat, National Gallery of Australia and Museum of Contemporary Art’s C3West.


What is something that I would be surprised to find in your space?
It would probably be either the quantity of paint or number of fire extinguishers, though many visitors would say my basketball hoop. I currently have in excess of 2000 litres of acrylic paints and over 170 water type fire extinguishers on my warehouse shelves.

Describe your ideal workspace in three words…
Abundant, Stocked, Expansive.

What's the best advice you've been given and from whom?
Work hard. Advice given to me by my late mother Pam. She worked harder than anyone I know and from an early age drilled into me that working hard is the key to success.
Where did you find the courage to follow your own path?
I knew I had found my calling when I started taking painting seriously in my late teenage years. Whether it was experimenting in the studio or late-night adventures to paint on exterior walls, I felt energised and empowered to follow my passion.

What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
I would say: get humble and stay focused. But most importantly, practice patience. A successful career in the arts is all about patience and perseverance.
What are you most proud of in the space?
My cavernous main painting space, which has an electrical hoist system that allows me to lift and lower large paintings. I am also especially proud of my growing archive, which houses a painting or two I keep from every series I have made to date.

Describe a real life mundane situation that inspires you!
When a constant downpour of rain creates gravity fed watermarks on raw concrete walls.

What is your dream project?
In the past decade I have undertaken a number of projects where I have performatively painted large tilt slab concrete warehouses and filmed the process.

But my dream is to upscale this concept to the highest level, where there are no limits to the scale and type of location, the number of crew, cameras, assistants, equipment, paint materials and of course catering.

What is your most important artist's tool?
My Airless Sprayer.

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