3651 Princeton Dr. NE, Indian Acres
Ancient Romans believed that Helios, the God of the Sun, rose up from his home beyond the East mountains each morning to drive the sun across the sky with his chariot. I decided to call this mural “Helios Rising” as a way of recalling the reverence and fear humans once held for the awesome power of the sun.
With the advent of modern technology and the transition of so much human activity away from the land, we have lost touch with something vital that these ancient people sensed. It is my hope that this work in this location will help people to reconnect with the awe and respect for the sun, which must have been the seed of the Helios myth.
I do this knowing that if we remain disconnected from nature and from our bodies as part of nature, we are, very simply, threatened with extinction. But, if we take the time to disconnect from our screens and our daily anxieties and to truly commune with the power of nature and the sun, in particular, we will not only be forced to reckon with the very real, destructive potential of climate change - we will also be forced to reckon with the reality that the sun has more than enough power to save us from that destruction.
Good art helps gets us closer to truth - sometimes by helping us access truths that we already know on some level, but cannot or will not see. This mural is a result of my effort to harness the untamed, raw power of the sun in my body and spirit. In manifesting this energy, I hope the work also helps to bring the truth about the role of the sun in our present climate crisis into a sharper, more resonant, relief.
Ashton S. Phillips is an award-winning abstract expressionist painter, who lives and keeps his studio in a particularly untamed and serenely beautiful stretch of remote high desert in Northwest New Mexico.
Ashton moved to this desert wilderness in 2016, after falling in love with the fearsome beauty and expansive tranquility of the place. Before that, he studied visual arts and painting at the University of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, PA.
Ashton maintains an active exhibition calendar with recent solo, juried, and group exhibitions in galleries and public art centers across the United States, including exhibitions in Philadelphia, Denver, Santa Fe, and Los Angeles. His work is held in private collections around the country.
When he is not working on his own paintings, Ashton is busy teaching art lessons out of his studio, sharing the therapeutic and healing power of art with youth through a local counseling practice, and helping raise and care for his 2-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter.
Ashton is a juried artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association and maintains gallery affiliations with Ghostwolf Gallery in Albuquerque, NM, Galleria Carnivale in El Morro, NM, and the Encaustic Art Institute in Santa Fe, NM.