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Ashley Peevor: Interview With A Bristol Based Visual Artist

By Michelle Sciarrotta

Ashley Peevor is a Bristol based Visual Artist who delves into various sculpture, living costumes, installations and cross-genre artwork, with an emphasis on innovative science and technological techniques. His works have been exhibited and performed across the UK and in the USA. Ashley also works as the Marketing Manager with Circomedia, heading the marketing for the contemporary Circus School, classes and professional show programme.

What first inspired you to become an artist?

I started off on a Fashion design course for 4 years. I enjoyed it and learnt a lot, but I felt the course was very limiting; having to stick to relatively strict tailoring and fashion rules that seemed too rigid to push things somewhere new. I wanted to test and challenge myself more and art seemed to fit that bill. I liked that it could (in theory) be absolutely anything.

It always felt that you’re standing on the edge of the hinterland not really knowing what you will find.

How did you get into the field of Arts Marketing?

I helped a guy that was a little like Del from Only Fools and Horses convert his derelict factory into a series of art, print and dance studios. I got paid peanuts but I was responsible for filling the spaces, building the website, running exhibitions and generally building the community. I had previously done some marketing for my own exhibitions and a few other projects but this was the first time I took on the full branding. It all started there, and I found it was something I wanted to do more of.

The school at Circomedia trains students in the Circus tradition – how have you observed their progression over the years and what stands out from your time there?

It’s the largest and oldest professional circus school in the country. As you can expect, it attracts a diverse range of people and creativity. New Circus has always struggled to move beyond the general perception of clowns, juggling and live animals. Circomedia tries to move beyond these traditional forms and to combine circus with various other artistic disciplines. It is particularly well known for combining circus with physical theatre, but there is a current push for combining circus with new technology like VR, projection mapping and digital sensory work.

What’s been one of your happiest moments or career highlights so far?

Flying Trapeze, otherwise known as flying, is a type of trapeze where you get to swing about 40 feet in the air. A few times a year I get to dust off my spandex and have a go. (I don’t actually have any spandex but you get the idea!)

What’s been your biggest learning curve, and what did you take from it?

You can’t do everything even if you want to. You need to learn to let things go and move on. Not everything will be completly how you want it to be, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Art is for …?

Everyone. Good art is for everyone else.

What advice do you have for people who wish to enter the Arts – both the Visual Art and the Circus worlds.

No one created anything without first absorbing the great work going on. It’s important to surround yourself with as much variety as you can. Slowly you start to understand where you fit. Then it’s hard work and luck the rest of the way.

How has the art and performance industry been affected by Covid-19, and how do you think these will change how we work in the future?

It looks as though there are scary times ahead for the performance industry. So many people are without work and with no real idea when spaces can reopen, and unfortunately money will simply start to run out. People are resilient so I’m sure things will improve, but I can’t help but feel there will be some people who might lose their jobs and livelihoods.

Have you found any resources that have been helpful to you as an Artist through this challenging time and might help others in similar situations?

Arts Council consistently offer good support but with everyone in the same boat, getting opportunities is harder than ever.

You can view Ashley’s art portfolio, and contact for work enquiries on his website: http://www.ashleypeevor.com/

Ashley+Peevor

Also by Michelle Sciarrotta:

The Human Library: Check Out Real People

Ali Wright Photographs Theatre Staff Working As Key Staff during COVID

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