Artist exhibits portrait of late motor racing star in St Albans gallery

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Artist exhibits portrait of late motor racing star Artist exhibits portrait of late motor racing star

A colour- blind artist is to exhibit his portrait of the late motor racing star Ayrton Senna at a St Albans gallery after attracting the attention of the driver’s niece, Bianca.

Ben Askem, 37, got the attention after sharing an emotional blog on social media about the death of his mother from bowel cancer as she never saw him finish the portrait.

The painting, along with other Formula One images is due to exhibit at 105 in Victoria Street, owned by businesswoman and arts supporter, Jean Dennis as part of a special Father’s Day exhibition.

Mr Askem said: "I always used to love watching motor sport as a child, and was fortunate to grow up in the Senna, Mansell and Prost era. Cars have always been a bit of a fascination for me, I used to own a classic Mustang and my current car is a 20 year old Honda Prelude - as advertised by Ayrton Senna back in the day.

"I am lucky enough to be able to paint the subjects that interest me these days. So motor-sport is up there, along with film, music, iconic people and cities."

Bianca contacted him via email and suggested as she was in England that she would like to visit his gallery in St Albans and see the painting.

Mr Askem added:"She said it really captured her uncle’s eyes and was amazing so I was rather bowled over and also humbled that she gave me her approval."

The portrait will be on show from June 14 to June 28.

Mr Askem’s work is also featured on the St Albans based global directory of artists, for which Ms Dennis has recently received a silver trophy award for business development.

She said: "Originally I invited Ben to exhibit at one of my Radlett Art Expos as I was extremely impressed with the quality of his work and he also happened to be quite local.

"Unfortunately Ben was unable to attend the exhibition in the end, due to his baby being born, but we kept in touch and I invited him to join Artists’ Info. He has recently done so and has approached me to discuss a new exhibition in my gallery.

"Needless to say I am thrilled at the opportunity to display his fabulous work, as I’m sure it will attract the men on their way to and from the station each day.

"I am also so pleased he has started to paint again and look forward to seeing more new work in the near future. St Albans certainly has got talent."

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