I was born in 1979 and grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida. My love of art seems to have developed into many areas over the years and continues to be focused on the ocean and landscapes that surround me. Through painting, photography, and design the possibilities are endless and so are the hours that are involved each day; it is an obsession and one that I love very much.
On one hand I love the pure creation and imagination it takes to turn a blank canvas into a beautiful painting and on the other I yearn for being outdoors with my camera capturing incredible moments that happen in nature. As I am typing this I realize how much time is spent on my computer creating, editing, and being an artist behind the screen. Our recently founded company Southbound Apparel has further developed my love for this aspect of fine art and the fun of using color and design in a modern way.
As I move forward in each of these realms, I want focus even more on telling stories through my paintings and photography.
"I LOVE BEING AN ARTIST."
Ashton is the oldest of three sons born to Rosemary and Jerry Howard of Pensacola, Florida. His parents moved to Pensacola from Jacksonville in the early 70's to start a family and open an office supply company in the small town. Ashton and his brothers grew up on the wide white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico playing in the emerald waters and sugar like sand. In the summers we would go "crabbing" and fishing and needless to say, there was never a shortage of fresh seafood at our table. Our family had boats, canoes, fishing tackle, surfboards, skim boards; anything outdoors and we did it.
As a child Ashton was always interested in art, finding many surfaces to draw an create on. In high school he arranged his art classes the period right before lunch so he could stay and paint throughout the break. Ashton had a photography class with the same art teacher and at the time he was not interested, so she would allow him to continue to paint and clean the darkroom for credit. I had almost three hours of time each school day to do any art related project I wanted to. A couple years after graduating high school, Ashton attended Savannah College of Art and Design from 1999-2000. Even though it was short, I had a great time and made some wonderful lifetime friends, but art school was just not for me, I wanted to learn on my own. Ashton's vision and methods have always been very alternative and it was noticed that a structured environment was not going to work. He packed his surfboard, bag, and paints and headed west for California in 2001. Landing in Cardiff Reef in Encinitas, CA he worked at a surf camp as an instructor for several months in the summer. I was a struggling artist for many years teaching surf lessons, airbrushing surfboards, and occasionally selling original paintings or painting a mural. I lived between the state park and the floor of a surf shop for a couple months before I could afford a small apartment in San Clemente. My favorite memory is when I was a street artist in Laguna Beach. I would drive up the coast everyday during the summer and sit in Heisler Park selling my art on hand painted rocks. After a surf I would collect several smooth sea stones with perfect shapes and texture and paint small landscapes and waves on each one. In the beginning I was hesitant about people actually buying them, but it surprised me how many I sold each day; it became my "full time" job for a couple of years. Ashton always maintained a website and email address to stay connected with his buyers. Each rock was hand signed on the back with this information and his AH signature and was the very beginning of his art collectors and relationships.
This is how it started, but Ashton's rapid growth, his innate and practiced ability to interpret nature's power and beauty along with his unique style of painting has earned him many opportunities and success over the last ten years. His art has been represented and sold in some of the world's leading fine art galleries and major U.S. cities. Ashton's art has been collected throughout the entire U.S. and Hawaiian Islands, Japan, Australia, Russia, Greece, and Italy.
His art has always been very deep and magical, it tells the story all the incredible times he has experienced when the perfect light embraces nature. To me, it is much more than a sunlit landscape or perfect wave, it is about a connection within yourself to the natural world around you, to the power and tranquility of the ocean, and living a life inspired by the beauty that surrounds us.