WAIMEA — It’s a clash of chemicals that leaves the unique designs and patterns on the canvases of Waimea multimedia artist Tim Ashby.
He calls it static movement, but when the light catches the swirls of metallic flakes and bounces off the layers of different colors, the effect is anything but stationary.
Bad Ash Art is his company, and the Houston, Texas, native creates his pieces at home, where he sometimes also hydro-dips everyday items like coffee cups and notebook binders.
Ashby’s wife, Julie, creates her own natural body lotions and other beauty products.
Days before the birth of his first child, Ashby sat down with The Garden Island to talk about his inspiration.
TGI: What is the process of creating these pieces?
Well, for the most part, I make the frames myself. The one on the wall, that was a $15 Ross frame that I just repurposed. I put the canvas panel on the frame and then paint it.
There’s no books. There’s very little information that talks about this, so it’s all fairly new.
I have 18 months of time and many thousands of dollars worth of materials that I’ve been experimenting with, and every time I add a new property I get a different effect.
A lot of these have metal flake in it and the light really makes them dance when you get it right.
Very few people in the world have experimented with this, and so the last part of the puzzle, which I’ve finally figured out, is to get the clear coat on top. To get a good clear thick glass-like coat and so now I’m going back to my previous ones and reapplying.
The goal is a finish that’s like glass. It adds so much depth to it.
When I’m doing this, I’m getting smoke. There’s fire involved. A torch is used to pull out all the bubbles and to spread the paint and have it make some of the cell effects, the breaking of the paint apart.
It’s more of a science experiment turned good, and I’ve actually consulted my father-in-law. He’s a retired chemical engineer and we’ve worked a few of the theories together.
It takes me about eight to 10 hours for each, and I’d say I spend about 15 to 20 hours a week doing this.
TGI: Have you always been an artist?
I started at age 10, making all my Christmas and birthday presents. Any presents for my family, I’ve made over the years. But now, I’ve finally got the time to experiment.
My very first piece was a wooden, pig-shaped cutting board. My woodshop teacher from junior high taught me how to make it. I was the woodworking state champion one year in Texas and two years in metalworking.
It started early, and at least I could tell I had a talent in it. Then I worked for 25 to 30 years in my grandmother’s stripping and refinishing shop, learning how to refinish. My grandmother was the best stripper and re-finisher in the state. We did things for the governor’s mansion. I had such a knack for it that I did repairs when I was going through school.
TGI: What drew you to experimenting with this type of art?
This particular method of art, it started with a piece on Plexiglas and acrylic. Then it’s mixing different inks and materials and thinners together that will fight each other and add the illusion of movement.
It’s capturing the movement of two different properties of paint merging together. They’re repelling and opposing each other. They’re fighting each other.
There are endless combinations. Every time I think this is going to be a bizarre color palette, it’s just gorgeous. Even if you use the same color combinations they’ll never be the same. It doesn’t matter how the color combinations are applied, they’ll all be different.
When I’m doing this, I’m beside myself sometimes; and I personally can stare at them for hours and find something new each time.
TGI: Where do you sell your work?
Up until this point, the only people that have seen my pieces have been my family, and what’s interesting is that none of the pieces I’ve sold have been up for sale. I’ve just been posting for friends to see and there have been quite a few that people have had to have.
My Instagram is the best place to check it out. It’s @bad_ash_art.
TGI: You mentioned you’d like to use your art to help the community, too?
I want to start donating pieces to good causes. I’m a part of Surfrider, and I hope to work with those guys soon with pieces that I can donate and they can sell and use the profits for the cause. I also hope to work with Bethany Hamilton, doing the same thing with her cause. And I’ll work through my church, Kauai Christian Fellowship.
I’ve experimented using sand, and I’m thinking of expanding on that concept and putting Pua’s (Ashby’s dog) paw prints in the sand. Then, I’d be able to donate it to Kauai Humane Society; and they can sell it and use the profits.
My art is fun and vibrant and it lends itself to that.
I enjoy doing it, and this way we can all get something good out of it as well.
Contact Tim Ashby at (808) 635-4061, or follow him on Instagram, @bad_ash_art.