Many threads have been woven into the tapestry which describe Noel Ashton’s life, but central to them all is the deep connection that he feels towards nature and to the earth, leading to the creation of unique programmes such as the acclaimed ‘Sacred Oceans’ and ‘Mapungubwe Revisited’ initiatives.
Although he graduated in Environmental & Geographical Science from the University of Cape Town, it has been through his life experience of working to effect change within the environmental and sociological sectors that his personal skills and project innovation have come to the fore.
For over twenty years he has specialised as a cetacean scientific illustrator, developing a complex process of morphologically mapping the world’s whales and dolphins, enabling him to create accurate scientific illustrations of each species. Much of this work came out of working alongside the University of Pretoria’s Mammal Research Institute under the guidance of Dr Peter Best and the Whale Research Unit at the Iziko South African Museum. Apart from the use of his illustrations within the scientific community, his work has been used extensively within marine conservation, including for example a special report on Heaviside’s dolphins for the International Whaling Commission; as well as natural history publications, signage boards and information brochures and leaflets. He illustrated the MTN humpback whale and bottlenose dolphin signage boards as well as the IFAW Whale Walk and Benguela Boards.
Noel is often invited to present public talks, appear on radio and television, and is represented on the national speaking circuit. He also consults for the film industry and was the scientific consultant for Warner Bros in the creation of Free Willy 4.
The great, great grandson of well-known Cape artist Wilhelm Langschmidt, whose paintings are held in the William Fehr Collection at the Castle of Good Hope, Noel’s life has been dictated by his need to forge his very personal journey, seeking his inner voice and then sharing it through his artworks and writings. He has known the frustrations of the seeker, grappling with not only his creative response to the world, but also wishing to better understand the human paradigm. These have been given expression through his creativity, working in most mediums, ranging from etching, through to painting and sculpting. It is by synthesizing these different dimensions of his creative being, that he is able to share his story through exhibitions, books and a range of talks and Audio Visual presentations.
Noel’s latest book released by Random House Struik -