A posthumous art exhibition will go ahead to honour the wish of Barnstaple musician and artist Martin Ash.
Better known to many by his stage name Sam Spoons and the spoon-wielding percussionist of 1960s group The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Martin died on September 27 following a five year battle with cancer, aged 76.
When he passed away he had been working on his first – and he knew, his last – solo art exhibition. Entitled Kerb Art, it will run at Tapeley Park, Instow, from Sunday (October 14) until Tuesday, October 16.
This Tuesday, (October 16) is also the date of Martin’s funeral, which will be held at North Devon Crematorium at 1.40pm, with collections for North Devon Hospice and Over and Above. [Please note: funeral date corrected from previous published version, for which we apologise]
The exhibition was inspired when Martin worked as a senior art lecturer at Chelsea School of Art (now University of the Arts), where on his daily cycle commute he would observe all manner of surfaces and oddities on the road.
Over time he collected squashed buckets, crushed cans and miscellanea including coins and buttons.
These ‘street spill’ spoils have found their way into the large concrete artworks which are at the heart of the show.
His wife Judy told the Gazette the family had decided to go ahead with the show. She said: “One of the things he always wanted to do was this exhibition, because he had done everything else he wanted in his life.”
Some of the Kerb Art pieces are unfinished but they will be displayed alongside more of Martin’s artwork.
He was born in Bridgwater but moved to Barnstaple when he was 12. He was the first student to gain an A-Level in art at Barnstaple Grammar School, before moving to Plymouth to study illustration (NDD Honours). From 1963 - 1966 he studied industrial design at the Royal College of Art, landing in the midst of a collection of artists and musicians who were moving and shaking the Swinging Sixties.
With the irreverent attitude of the Bonzos he broke the mould of what was expected from musicians at the time and the band has been credited with influencing the likes of Monty Python, Stephen Fry and Ade Edmondson.
He was in numerous musical ensembles including Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band and Bill Posters Will Be Band and played his last gig this September with Bonzo Bill’s.
Martin leaves his wife Judy, two children and three grand children.