Ross Ashmore didn’t realise until recently that 2013 was Tube 150 year but, by neat coincidence, he will complete the epic task of painting every tube station in London in this anniversary year.
Ashmore trained in Fine Art and then spent 20 years of his career working as a graphic designer. Now returned to painting and having left commercial and client deadlines behind, he’s created his own brief and deadline with the huge tube project and, to date, has finished all Zone 1 (64), Zone 2 (64), Zone 3 (44) and Zone 4 (43) stations. He paints in oils with “a heavy impasto manner” that makes the artist’s physical effort evident and imbues the images with energy and movement reflecting the bustle of the commute and the flow of the traffic. There’s a real sense of the artist capturing the moment — like snapshots in oil paint.
Another coincidence, it’s the 80th anniversary of Southgate Tube this year — one of the most iconic and loved Holden creations — so how neat that an exhibition of 100 of Ross’s tube paintings is taking place a stone’s throw away from the spaceship-like station. Space Gallery occupies a former Barclays Bank. Stripped bare it’s an impressive light space ideal for hanging so many paintings together. We defy you not to mentally tick off the ones you’ve been to and the ones you haven’t as you journey round the display.