I'm a collage artist, writer and genre-hopping musician from the North Of England. I suffer from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from prolonged abuse in childhood, and began compulsively creating art, music and stories at that time (late 1970's) as a response and expression of the trauma I was experiencing.
I was inspired to make art by the DIY ethos of punk rock. I was as fascinated by the record sleeves and posters as I was by the music, especially Gee Vaucher's work for anarchist punks Crass, Linder Sterling's images for Buzzcocks and Magazine, and later, Nick Blinko's obsessive art for Rudimentary Peni. Aged 12, I formed my first band 'No Reality', the same year as I got 0% in my art exam for ignoring the set questions and tracing the cover of the first Ruts album instead.
Themes of trauma, powerlessness, protest, abuse, mental illness, violence, humiliation, abandonment, shame and claustrophobia appear regularly in my work, as well as a bleak gallows humour I developed as a psychological coping mechanism. Seen through the eyes of the abused child inside me, the images are a reflection and expression of the inner world as he saw and felt it.
I've exhibited in Berlin, New York, Detroit, Valencia, Milan, as well as across the UK, including at Sotheby's in London and Pallant House Gallery in Chichester for outsider art charity Outside In. I've been commissioned to design record sleeves and book covers, and a piece of my art was used on the cover of a Big Issue edition about outsider art. 14 albums of my music are available via Bandcamp
'Sometimes shocking and painfully honest, Ashley Reaks' work expresses a violent sense of humour' - Disability Arts.
'Hieronymous Bosch for the Thatcher generation' - Big Issue.