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Ash Holmes

Northern Beaches local Ash Holmes has been painting for as long as her hands could hold a brush. A fourth-generation artist, she developed her painting practice from a vocational pursuit into a fully-fledged professional career and has become one of Sydney’s most hotly-tipped artists. Ash’s work can be seen throughout Harbord Hotel, where she was inspired by the shapes of Freshwater’s headland to create the calming and earthy mural that greets guests on arrival. Here, we chat to her about career, inspiration, and her unexpected guilty pleasures.

When did you first discover you wanted to be an artist?

When I was four my great-grandma would sit with me and teach me how to paint, my grandma was also a practising artist and my mum worked as an artist. From as young as I can remember it was a practice I would often do at home on the weekends and after school. In school my strongest subject was Visual Art and it was also where my passion was. From about 18 I knew I would strive to be a full-time artist, it was a seed planted much earlier in my life.

Can you tell us about your thought process for the Harbord Hotel artwork, where did you draw inspiration from?

I drew inspiration from the natural environment, studied photos of the original landscape – the shapes of the headlands and ocean’s cove, the culture surrounding the HH, vintage furniture and architecture and most importantly the natural colour palette that nature provides. The palette I selected for the Hilton is grounding, earthy and calming.

Can you share with us some of your daily rituals?

Coffee, ocean swims, listening to new music, palo santo burning and speaking to loved ones on the phone.

What has been your biggest challenge in your career to date?

Being confident and vulnerable enough to put my work out there for people to view. I think if the work is authentic and true then it will always be something I’m proud of.

Where would we find you on a perfect sunny Saturday afternoon?

I’d be either at the beach, sipping on a margarita somewhere or in the studio.

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

I’d go back to Japan and do an arts residency.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Socks and sandals.
Ash Holmes painting Harbord Hotel
Harbord Hotel Logo


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