Aaron Ashley - 2011

About the Matt Clark Travelling Scholarship opportunity:

“In November 2011 we were fortunate enough to receive the Matt Clark Travelling Scholarship which enabled us to spend five days in Sydney to attend and document the Outpost Project street art festival at Cockatoo Island. The event is “…the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, featuring over 100 local and international street artists and collectives.” The festival included large-scale installations, live art creations including aerosol art, stencilling, paste-ups, sticker art, cup rocking, sculpture, murals and bill boards.

In short, it was one of the most amazing experiences we’ve ever had. To elaborate on that, we were very fortunate to have met May’s Lane Project Coordinator Wendy Murray only a month before at the Perc Tucker exhibition Decked Out. This chance encounter (thanks to Eric Nash for the introduction!) bestowed on us a remarkable opportunity when it came to going to Outpost, as May’s Lane’s touring panels were a major part of the festival.

The unbelievably generous Wendy managed to score us last minute tickets to the opening of the Outpost Project. This meant a very hastily booked and organised trip which had us arriving in Sydney on opening day. After a plane, taxi and ferry ride we were greeted with the sun setting over a massive heritage island decked with street art in every nook and cranny. To make matters better, at the opening we were introduced to a slew of well known street artists including Anthony Lister, Debs, Ears and Haha.

The opening, with its hundreds of guests, massive murals, breathtaking installations and free beer and Mexican food was only a taste of what was to come. The following three days were spent with camcorder and camera firmly in hand as Wendy showed us the well sprayed, heavily pasted and totally sticker covered best of Sydney and Cockatoo island.  

On the mainland there was a trip to May’s Lane where we interviewed Wendy and founder Tugi Balog. With several artists using the lane as their canvas every month and a long history behind the project, there was lot to discuss. This was followed with a trip to Higher Ground Studio where we were privileged to get a first hand insight into the works and process of artists such as Max Berry and Beastman.

On the island there was endless shuffling in awe as we saw the exhibits such as Pastemodernism 3 (paste-up culture curated by Ben Frost), May’s: THE MAY LANE STREET ART (panels from May’s Lane), PROJECT, OI YOU! COLLECTION (George Shaw’s collection of 70 works, including 23 from Banksy), NEXT (an insight into t-shirt culture) and ARTERY (a passageway curated by aMBUSH Gallery). As if just seeing the work wasn’t enough, we got to hear the stories behind them from Mini Graff, Vexta, Heesco and Adnate + Slicer.

By the time we left Sydney we had our minds full of inspiration and our cameras filled with footage. Over the next few months that footage will be turned into a collaborative short film that will be shown locally and uploaded to the web. The hope is to provide a little snapshot of the Outpost Project, the amazing artists who were a part of it and a maybe even a slight glimpse into the active, politically charged, mysterious world of Australian street art.”

What has happened since the Matt Clark Travelling Scholarship opportunity:

“Being awarded the Matt Clark Travelling Scholarship alongside Jess Hay led to an incredible experience which further fuelled our wanderlust and encouraged us to take our new levels of creative collaboration on the road. Currently we are travelling Europe together for a year on a slim budget, blogging, photographing and documenting the journey. I’ve also personally been working on my first novel, choosing to fulfil the dream now rather than forever wait for tomorrow.” 


Work & Education
  • Freelance Visual Artist | 2008 – present
  • Photography & Digital Art Teacher at Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE | 2012
  • Design and Development Officer at Umbrella Studio | 2009 – 2012
  • Project Manager for Compact Prints 2010 & Students In-case | 2010
  • Project Manager for Tonite We RUN | 2008 – 2009
  • Business Administration Certificate IV from TAFE | Completed 2008
  • Business Administration Trainee at Umbrella Studio | 2007 – 2008
  • Matt Clark Scholarship to create a short film for the Outpost Project 2011 | 2011
  • Education Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Art, Chroma Regional Encouragement Award | 2006
  • Townsville Young Artists Awards, First Prize, Open Drawing Section | 2006
  • RADF Grant through RADF to create short films for a collaborative projections exhibition | 2011
  • Starburst Grant through YAQ for short film Maladaptive | 2010
  • RADF Grant through RADF to financially assist with Ignite exhibition and Open Studio | 2009
  • Ignite Grant through Perc Tucker Regional Gallery to curate group exhibition of young artists | 2008
  • Artist Run Initiative Grant through Arts Queensland for Tonite We RUN project | 2008
Selected Group Exhibitions
  • Audio-Technica Young Artist Exhibition, Umbrella Studio | 2012
  • Decked Out, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 2011
  • Strand Ephemera, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 2011
  • Lush, Studio2 | 2011
  • Interpretation of Nature, Cereal Box | 2011
  • The Sketchbook Project, Touring exhibition by the Brooklyn Art Library | 2011
  • Compact Prints 2008, 2010 & 2012 Touring print exhibition by Umbrella Studio |2008, 2010, 2012
  • Percival Portrait Award, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 2010
  • Live it Now, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 2010
  • Distractions, Magistrate’s Court Building | 2010
  • Ignite Youth Exhibition, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 2009
  • Keynote Capers, Sylvia Ditchburn Gallery | 2009
  • Tonite We RUN, Umbrella Studio | 2009
  • Christmas Propaganda Show, ArtSpaced | 2009
  • Prints and Pencils, The Space (ARI space at the Bank Court Building in Townsville) | 2008
  • Travelbug, Little White Space | 2008
  • ArtGround Frontiers, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 2008
  • Impulsive, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 2007
  • A Pony in the Post Office, Little White Space | 2007
  • Minister’s Art Awards, Umbrella Studio | 2006
  • Young Artist Awards , Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 2006


The NEXT Exhibition
Shida working on a piece
Opening of The Outpost Project on Cockatoo Island
Aaron Ashley, Mini Graff, and Jess Hay
Aaron Ashley, TV on the Radio, Digital Photograph, Big Day Out 2009
Aaron Ashley, This is not Jordan Grant, Pencil and marker on paper, 2010
Aaron Ashley, Meanwhile in Paris, Digital Photograph, 2012
Aaron Ashley, Some men just want to watch the world burn, Acrylic on canvas, 2012