Ashford Unframed the Ashford street art festival has been taking place during April 2023. Supported by Love Ashford and the London Mural Company. Murals from a variety of artists have been appearing across the area in the run up to the event.
Every mural is easily accessible with locations dotted around the town. The station, cinema and coachworks joining spots on Bank Street, High Street and St Johns Lane. Each location just a short walk from each other.
- Ashford Unframed
- Ashford Street Art Locations
- Ashford International Station
- Bank Street
- Castle Street
- Coachworks, Dover Place
- Edinburgh Road Car Park, Park Street
- Elwick Road
- High Street
- St Johns Lane
- Vicarage Lane Car Park
- Various Locations
In total 16 official street art pieces were created as part of Ashford Unframed. Standout large scale works including murals from Ashford local Mr Doodle, sculptor Alex Chinneck and muralist Curtis Hylton. They were joined by impressive pieces from Voyder, Charley Peters, Aspire, Odisy, Ellie Fryer, Will Redgrave and Andy Welland.
Local artists Danielle Williamson, Leah Bunting and Claudio Otto have created pieces directly inspired by the town of Ashford itself. They are joined by students from Ashford College and together three murals have been purely dedicated to Ashford. Another two internally sited murals from Hatch and Chris Page can be found in the Low Key Taproom and Picturehouse Cinema respectively. For the period of the festival, Asher Maze has also produced a series of site specific street signs across the town.
Ashford Street Art Locations
Ashford International Station
‘A Fish Out of Water’ – Leah Bunting & Claudia Otto
A series of planters greet visitors arriving at the international rail station. Created by Leah Bunting and Claudia Otto both are students from Ashford College. It is a work inspired both by Ashford’s transport connections and the flow of the Great Stour River. The piece features seven planters each containing a letter making up the word ‘Ashford’. Within each of the pots are bushes which spell out the word ‘welcome’. This particular work was a partnership between Ashford Station and the Kent Community Rail Partnership.
Bank Street runs from the High Street down towards the entertainment hub at Elwick Place and three murals can be found here from Curtis Hylton, Hatch and Andy Welland.
Loose Ends 206 – Andy Welland
Impossible to miss as you head down towards Elwick Place, Welland’s vibrant colourful work is a collage of shapes and patterns. Inspired by human connection the work for Welland represents a mixture of feelings, stories and expression. For the artist it also represented his first public art mural.
Flamboyant Fawn – Curtis Hylton
On the side of Bucksford Law, Curtis Hylton has created a country scene. Showing a proud young deer he is standing in brush land amidst autumnal ferns. Curiously watching nearby, a pheasant appears from the scrub. Both creatures painted in Hylton’s signature style which fuses elements of the natural world together.
‘Tales of the High Lock’ – Hatch
Situated inside the Low Key Tap Room, Hatch’s piece is a stream of cartoon imagery. Painting two walls at the back of the venue, he even managed to incorporate a piano into his work. If the Tap Room is closed, the work can be also seen through the window.
‘Lithest, Gaudiest, Harlequin’ – Will Redgrove
Blue tits play with a ribbon amidst a field of flowers. The work from Will Redgrave is on the end of the Pilgrims Hospice in Castle Street. It is a piece full of colour and life. Inspired by the values of the charity on whose wall it has been painted it is a representation of everlasting love, gratitude, respect, memory and care. All values which are at the heart of the Pilgrims Hospice vision.
Coachworks, Dover Place
‘The One Round the Back’ – Odisy
Odisy is an artist known for his graphic style and unique characters. Overlooking the courtyard of the Coachworks, he wanted to capture the vibe of the space. Capturing the diverse range of creativity that takes place there.
‘Traverse’ – The London Mural Company x Accent London
Fronting onto Dover Place, the boarded windows of this former warehouse have been transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour. The pieces were inspired by the tracks which would have been made by the coach wheels that once would have been produced on the site. The location was formerly the paint store of Ashford’s Croford Coachbuilders. Designed by the London Mural Company and Accent London, the piece was brought to life by artists Ellie Fryer and Melissa Hartley.
Edinburgh Road Car Park, Park Street
‘Concrete Cluster’ – Mr Doodle
An artist to whom Ashford needs no introduction, Mr Doodle is a local and a popular artist. Living nearby he has painted in and around the area all his life. His work high on the Edinburgh Road car park was created totally freehand and features a number of his favourite characters. Look closely and you might discover characters of Mr Doodle, Mrs Doodle and Mr Doodles evil twin. The piece is a fun bright spot on what is certainly a dark and dreary building.
‘Light Up Ashford’ – Ashford College Students
A series of photographic light drawings spell the word ‘Ashford’. The pieces hint at a busy and high speed town but also represent the strength and diversity of the Creative Arts Department at Ashford College.
‘Love Film’ – Chris Page
Situated in the foyer of Ashford’s Picturehouse Cinema. ‘Love Film’ is a homage to film which takes its design inspiration from an old test card. Subtly spelling out the word ‘love’ within the mural it is a celebration of movies and the important role film has in the town’s cultural life.
‘Good Fortune’ – Ellie Fryer x KOMPLY
A hare leaps between two shapes on the boarding of an old building. The work is a collaboration between the illustration work of Ellie Fryer and the abstract minimalism of KOMPLY. It’s inspired by the idea that hares do indeed bring good fortune to those who come across them.
Although not on the official roster of artists, Will Vibes is an artist integral to the production of Ashford Unframed. Notably he produced the actual painting of the Alex Chinneck designed mural. Ultimately transforming what was meant to be sculptural and 3D onto the wall. Finding a suitable set of hoardings on the High Street, Vibes was able a piece to add his own unique mark to the event.
‘Connection’ – Karc & Melissa Hartley
Another last minute street art opportunity saw Melissa Hartley collaborate with abstract artist Karc. Painted onto hoardings on the corner with High Street. Hartley had previously worked with Ellie Fryer on the production of the Coachworks mural.
St Johns Lane
The greatest concentration of street art works in the area can be found on St Johns Lane. A tiny alley leading towards the High Street the works here are all next to each other. It’s immediately transformed a space which for years was seen as dark and uninviting by the locals.
‘Too Big for your Boots’ – Alex Chinneck
Sculptor Alex Chinneck is not normally known for his murals. His work in the 3D space creates fantastical illusions with buildings. Originally that was the plan for the design of the mural created in Ashford. With that initial project taking a little bit more time than expected, this one time sculptural piece soon found itself onto a wall as part of Ashford Unframed. Executed onto the wall by Will Vibes it imagines the old Odeon wall as a shirt being tied together.
‘Sam’ – Voyder
Voyder’s portrait shows Sam Cox, otherwise known as Mr Doodle. He wanted to capture an iconic person from the town to paint and as Ashford’s most prominent street artist, Mr Doodle was perfect for the job. The mural also incorporates various buildings from the borough. The charter house, windmill and church all being included.
‘High Octane’ – Charley Peters
Charley Peters work is known for its vibrancy and use of shapes and and colour. Positive and forward looking, the mural from Charley features a series of arrows rushing together. It’s a piece that represents the energy of Ashford’s burgeoning cultural ambitions.
‘Workshop of the World’ – Aspire
Known for his paintings of birds and the natural world, Aspire brings nature into the urban environment. His murals often featuring an incursion of sorts from our modern space. His piece in Ashford showing a bird holding a metal bolt whilst elsewhere in the mural, the image is starting to pixelate. This latter symbology representing the fragility of nature. It says that if we don’t look after our environment now then at some point it will only exist in the digital realm.
‘Hammer of the Gods’ – Asher Maze
Asher Maze’s street signs are temporary installations that have been dotted around the course of the festival. This opportunistic piece used the setting of an old fly tipped scrap of metal in order to create a temporary artwork on St Johns Lane. It sits next to one of his signs saying ‘Caution Strong Magnetic Field’.
Vicarage Lane Car Park
‘Ashford Icons’ – Danielle Williamson
Painted onto a storage container at the Vicarage Lane car park is a montage of classic Ashford imagery. From local illustrator Danielle Williamson it’s a piece that pays homage to some of Ashford’s most recognisable features. The Ash Leaf, World War II Tank, Windmill and the Victoria Park Fountain are all included in this homage to the town.
‘Sign of the Times’ – Asher Maze
Across the town of Ashford during the period of the festival a series of subverted street signs have been appearing. With messages such as ‘you are here’, ‘freedom’ and ‘that’s all folks’. The signs are take what at first seems to be traditional street furniture and puts a different playful spin onto them.
The Ashford Unframed street art festival runs from 31 March and 16 April 2023. It has been supported by Love Ashford, the London Mural Company and Accent London. Thanks too to Picturehouse Cinemas, the Coachworks, Modus Film Productions, Chris Dixon and Ben Hammond for their support.