My name is Pete Ashton. I live in Birmingham, UK and am an artist working mainly with cameras, photographs and digital images. I also go on walks.
I decided to call myself an artist in 2010 when I realised I didn’t have to go to art school or ask permission to do so. I then spent the next few years figuring out what that meant, settling on a kind of “applied philosophy” where one understands the world by making stuff. In 2014 I went Full Artist, making this the core of my career, such as it is.
As of 2015 my work is focused on three areas.
I am one of the inaugural Fellows at Birmingham Open Media (BOM), where I can often be found working. I’m using this to research and develop my interest in digital images, from the social implications of compression algorithms to the ubiquity of cameras and image-making/sharing devices. This research is very broad and relatively undirected with new works frequently appearing online. A snapshot of my explorations can be found on my Tumblr.
Birmingham Camera Obscura
An ongoing collaboration with producer Jenny Duffin where we build camera obscuras of various shapes and sizes, touring and installing them around Birmingham. Our main device is a one metre cube camera funded by Kickstarter which debuts during summer 2015. Birmingham Obscura explores the fundamentals of cameras by allowing people to physically get inside them and provides artists (including ourselves) with a tool to create new works.
Cross City Walks
A new collaboration for 2015 with video maker and walker Andy Howlett where we walk across cities in straight lines. So far we have bisected Birmingham four times and produced an installation of timelapse photos for the Flatpack Film Festival. The project uses psychogeographic ideas to explore a city and compare opposing districts that rarely connect. We plan to invite other artists on our walks and to take this project to other cities.
All three projects have a strong collaborative angle and I’m always looking for people to help frame my ideas with. Please get in touch if you think we could work together well. I’m at BOM most days.
I have been blogging since June 2000 and have many blogs dotted around the place. My personal journal blog is I Am Pete Ashton. You may remember me from the Created in Birmingham blog which I started many years ago. I no longer run that, but thanks for the memories.
Tea please. (Milk, no sugar, in a proper mug.)