When it comes to high quality artwork, Mick Ashley of Leafy Sea Dragon Artwork stands out in the Canberra art scene for his unique and distinctive style. He takes inspiration from the city itself, capturing the essence of the diverse culture and the people that work and play here. His work has been recognised locally, and he was one of the ACT finalists at the National RAW Art Awards in 2013. The appreciation of his work, however, is not limited to Australia. His work is known across the globe. To date, pieces have been shipped to 60 countries, and are displayed in both residential and commercial properties.
Mick made the decision to pursue a career in art following voluntary redundancy from employment. After 22 years as a public servant, it was time to follow his dream of creating high quality artwork, and he hasn’t looked back. His own, unique style became apparent early in his career as an artist, following a number of successful appearances at local markets. His work stands out thanks to its distinctive, quirky style, based upon vibrant colours and bold designs. The pieces are multidimensional, often incorporating humour and covert elements, waiting to be discovered by discerning art enthusiasts with a keen eye for detail.
Despite Mick’s undoubtable talent, his most successful pieces hilariously started life as an unfortunate accident. “I was cooking dinner and in the process, somehow placed a very hot pot lid on the top of my art pad, leaving an embossed circle”, he explains. Fortunately, his creative side kicked in and he was able to transform the damaged paper into a work of art, “An epiphany erupted and within hours I had replicated the tree into 4 seasons, which represented Canberra’s distinct 4 seasons, complete with the 4 most distinctive parrot groups you find here”.
His pieces are created using a variety of techniques, seamlessly blending the old with the new to create authentic and contemporary artwork. This is a far cry from the early days, when Mick would use mixed media, including combinations of pencil, pen, acrylic, watercolour and gouache, to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. His approach has evolved considerably, and he now only uses the original technique for commissioned pieces.
The latest pieces are created using a combination of the latest digital techniques, using tools such as a WACOM digital tablet and pen, with the old. This is known as Digital Lino. These techniques enable Mick to use multiple layers, adjusting the opacity, shadow, light and colour. Consequently, artwork can be reproduced with an unrivalled degree of accuracy, with no loss of resolution – even when enlarged significantly.
The majority of Mick’s work is produced as limited edition, signed prints. These make a fantastic addition to any home, and retain their high value. In addition to these prints, Mick can also use the Digital Lino techniques to create one-of-a-kind commissioned pieces for his clients. He creates unique scenes, based upon photographs sent to him by his clients, which can then be used on physical artwork in the home, as well as digital artwork to be used on a variety of devices.