[Cultural Currents]

Tom Ashbourne

Tom Ashbourne embodies his art. He invents and re-invents, and at some point, art helped re-invent the man. “I’ve always had an innate curiosity for design, shape and colour,” Tom says. He describes how that curiosity blended with his talent for interpretation and analysis, which had been the basis of his decades-long career in finance. The merging of these traits inspired a dedication to collecting art. “I was mainly the observer then,” he adds. “Impulsive in my choices, I instantly recognized a synergy with certain pieces.”

Retirement from banking instigated a fresh pursuit of personal identity for Tom. “It slowly filtered through how my intuitions, bound up with the enthusiasm for collecting, had subliminally informed me of the principles of fine art,” he says. Tom looks beyond his studio window to the flat horizon of Lake Ontario surrounding Prince Edward County. “It seems that as a collector, art was directing me to an inner reality that I had yet to recognize,” he muses.

He felt the urge to express his own insights in three-dimensional form, and began working as a sculptor with stone. His recent ventures include using found objects as a medium. “There’s playfulness in arranging unrelated things,” he says. “Taking the basic shape of, say, a gear wheel mould, a flour scoop or a bunch of glass marbles and building on that can morph into unpredictable assemblages. It’s like taking elements from life and allowing them to interact in some kind of dance.”


Story by:
Conrad Beaubien

[Summer 2021 departments]