Rupert Ayton Studio
Rupert Ayton Studio

Rupert Ayton Studio

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Vendor Biography

Rupert Norton Ayton (Anglo-American b. England 1956) hails from an artistic family. His father, William Ayton, studied at Harrow School of Art in England before World War 2, drew charts for the Royal Airforce during the war, and then went on to become a commercial artist and art director, first in London and then in San Francisco, and later in Los Angeles. William Ayton’s notable work includes design of Blue Chip Stamps and catalogues 1960-1962, and the University of Southern California logo circa 1974. Rupert Ayton’s mother, Frances Ayton, was a watercolorist who had studied before World War 2 with Ethel Jesse Brightwell, sister of the renowned illustrator Robert Brightwell. William Ayton’s older brother Robert Ayton, who also attended Harrow School of Art, was a beloved illustrator of the Eagle comic and later Ladybird children’s books in England. Rupert Ayton is an “outsider” artist with no formal training. He started drawing and creating art at a young age through the encouragement of his parents and uncle, who sat Rupert down with oil paints at the age of 10 and “commissioned” a painting of a farm house. In his adolescent years, Rupert was a prolific sculptor of figures in Plasticine (an English modeling clay), then took up ceramics in his early teen years. At 16, he turned his creativity to the 1970s Southern California art form of custom cars and motorcycles and associated metal fabrication and bondo. An excellent draftsman, Rupert was warned off a desire to be a graphic artist by his father. At 18 he set aside his art to begin work on a bachelor’s degree in business followed by an MBA. In 2007, having downshifted his business career, he picked up a pencil and began to create art for the first time in over 30 years. It seemed he could still draw. His creative urge had never died, but had been sidelined, and he was now prepared to explore his creative genes. Primarily self-taught, Rupert re-engaged with art by studying the illustrations of his late father and uncle, including their sketch books, and tried to recall what he had observed of their studio practices. He corresponded with noted commercial artist and author Harry Borgman to understand the nuances of illustration technique practiced by his father and uncle. Today, Rupert’s painting style reflects that illustration background. He has studied with Gage Mace, Eduardo Fernandez, and Sophie Franz in Portland, Oregon, and with Maria Monks and Trish Harding in Bellingham, Washington. Rupert is an admirer of California landscape impressionists and enjoys painting landscapes in plein air as well as in the studio. He is also intrigued by expressionists, primarily LeRoy Neimann, and paintings of sports action. Rupert’s medium is oil and his preferred painting style is realism bordering on illustration; he creates his own frames. He is inspired by an underlying social commentary. Through various painting series, he explores America’s past affair with motorized vehicles, the good and the bad, revisiting their aesthetic and social attraction. Like most artists (including his father and uncle), Rupert’s art is about the creative journey—the paint—and achievement of the end result. Once a piece is completed, there is little sentimental attachment, and it is time to move on to the next piece. Not interested in the commercial aspects of fine art, he does not accept commissions and is happy to sell what he has created to someone who will enjoy it. And that helps pay for new supplies and avoids running out of storage space.