The End #8 Painting by Nicolas Ruston


The End is a collaborative project that explores the nature of ‘endings’. Fifteen paintings, depicting ‘the end’, by artist Nicolas Ruston have provoked fifteen short fictions by fifteen writers.

Ruston wanted to examine and interrogate the notion of ‘the end’ by exploring how an art form can operate through different media and how one group of artists interprets the others’ form.

Writer and editor Ashley Stokes has commissioned and curated the fifteen stories by fifteen writers. The resulting book entitled The End: Fifteen Endings To Fifteen Paintings, will be published by Unthank Books in August 2016.

The End will be presented as a book, art exhibitions, performances and book launches. The fifteen writers have each chosen a painting that will inspire a work of short fiction. All paintings express The End, so each story will express The End, or at least have an ending. In the series of paintings, Ruston has appropriated the look and feel of stills from movie end title sequences, borrowing from an age when it was necessary to indicate ‘The End’ prior to closing credits. The paintings are ambiguous, though genre is at times suggested through either figurative or typographic nuance.

Each painting is, in the artist’s words, ‘trapped behind a frame; the figurative element suffocating behind its End’. It is up to the writers to decide on how the painting is interpreted, decoded and translated through a work of fiction. Once interpreted by the writer the artist, Nicolas Ruston, cannot change or influence this interpretation.

The writer’s interpretation will become its ‘truth’ for the duration of The End. The exhibition of wall-mounted paintings on canvas will be presented alongside a short passage of text. The text will reveal the final lines of a short story by each of the fifteen authors. The work of art will act as both the starting point for the text and the end point. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of readings, performed in both gallery and bookshops.


Nicolas Ruston is an artist and founder of the advertising agency Robot Mascot. He is most recognized for his silicone and mixed media works that explore the notion of artificial manipulation. Born in Epping, Essex in 1975, he works in London and Norwich. He graduated from De Montfort University following a three-year apprenticeship under sculptor John Warren.

He was selected for inclusion in the international group show, “Viva Lolita” curated by former British Museum curator James Putnam. In his review of the exhibition for Art Review, J.J.Charlesworth commented that, "Occasionally there are shows so off the mainstream artworld radar that they're worth noting".

Ruston’s silicone work was nominated for the 2009-10 European Art Prize and in 2011 he launched "Propensity Modelling", a solo exhibition at the Hay Hill Gallery in Cork Street. Described by Galleries magazine as "powerful explorations in painting and video of mass media and modern myth".

He has exhibited internationally and his works are represented in numerous private and corporate collections.


Ashley Stokes was born in 1970 in Carshalton, Surrey and was educated at St Anne's College, Oxford and the University of East Anglia (where he took an MA in Creative Writing). His stories have appeared in The Warwick Review, London Magazine, Staple, Lakeview International Journal, LossLit and Fleeting among others.

He has an essay on Plotting A Novel in The Creative Writing Coursebook (Macmillan). He won a 2002 Bridport Short Story Award for The Suspicion of Bones. His first novel,Touching the Starfish was published in 2010 by Unthank Books.

A short story collection, The Syllabus of Errors appeared in 2013 and was shortlisted for a Saboteur Award. He is also co-editor of the short fiction series Unthology. He is currently working on a second short story collection, This is How You Disappear, and a novel The North Surrey Gigantopithecus.