Born in 1969, Michael John Ashcroft grew up in a small picturesque village called Croston in the heart of Lancashire. From an early age he had a keen interest in art and can fondly remember watching other artists paint pictures of the famous Church Street. After leaving school in 1985 with top grades in art he began his career as an engineer, painting and sketching only in his spare time. It was in 1998 after undergoing a major operation in Manchester that he decided to train in art and to paint professionally.
His early paintings were abstract acrylics and pastels which concentrated on the separation between light and dark before moving onto oils incorporating his early inspirations and techniques into the landscape around him. As Michael says,
“Lancashire is a wonderful place for an artist to live, from its luscious greens and warm yellows during summer, to the long winter months where the skies hang majestically over the drab landscape; there is an endless amount of subject matter.”
Michael’s breakthrough came in 2005, when he felt ready to exhibit in a major competition and entered into the International Artist exhibition. The painting was a top ten finalist and went onto win a major local exhibition and sold before the event opened. The following year he was approached by the editor of International Artist asking if he could do a feature in the magazine on his work which was published in August 2008. He was approached by a handful of galleries who wanted to sell his work. Further successful exhibitions have followed including many awards including winner of the famous Harris Open Exhibition and his first solo exhibition in 2009.
Michael has had a rapid rise to success, through hard work and a passion for art he continues to push himself looking for new subjects and inspiration.
In 2011 Michael was elected as a member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts following in the footsteps of L.S Lowry who was also a member of this prestigious group of artists.
2011 Spring Exhibition - Group exhibition - Millyard Gallery, Saddleworth
2011 M J Ashcroft - Solo exhibition - Crowne Gallery, Carlisle
2010 Seeing The Light - Solo exhibition - Salmesbury Hll, Preston
2010 Study Of Light - Solo exhibition - Meller Merceux, Oxford
2009 Out Of Darkness - Solo exhibition - Astley Hall, Chorley