Ben has a BTEC in Graphic Design from Keighley College, and a BA in Illustration from the University of Central Lancashire.
Pens, inks, brushes, found materials and textures, acrylics, spray paint, pastels, wax and coloured pencils – Ben is very much a mixed media creative. He’ll use worn out old brushes that have a little more depth and character than new ones, and favours the unexpected or happy accident.
Able to draw anything at all, Ben’s highly flexible style is organic, using Photoshop to layer together the elements he’s created using natural media. Drawings, marks and textures come together to form a complete image. For him, it’s hard to complete a line drawing – he likes to keep it loose, and leave something to the imagination.
Question: What first drew you to illustration/design? Ben: I've drawn pretty much since I stopped wearing nappies so it was just a case of deciding whether to pursue art or sport as a career. As soon as I realized I wasn't going to play for Leeds United then it was just a case of working my way up. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Ben: Yes, I took a BTEC in Graphic Design, then studied the first year of a Graphic Media Communications before switching to a BA Hons Degree in Illustration at the University of Central Lancashire. Question: Where is your studio? Ben: "The Snoozing Ken" which is actually named after a Victorian brothel. It's also Danny Allison's spare room and I should place on record that the title is merely for our amusement, no reflection on the nature of Danny's establishment, ha ha! We have shared a studio for just over a year now, ridiculous fun. Question: Who/What is your biggest inspiration? Ben: I am a massive fan of many sports, if I'm not stressing about my work I'm watching Football, Rugby League or my guilty pleasure-professional wrestling, WWE. My two biggest influences right now are Eminem and Ric Flair, considered the greatest wrestler there's been.
Question: How do you get your ideas? Ben: From a very broad range of sources. My main ideas come straight from the old brain box when breaking down a brief but my visual ideas come from all walks of life. I'm forever jotting down ideas when I'm out and about whether it's a night out or on a bus. Question: Do you collect anything? Ben: No. I hate 'stuff.' You can't take anything with you. All my original artwork was binned last week, tough but necessary. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Ben: I'm a huge Leeds United FC fan and I have clippings spread across four scrapbooks from every game from the 97/98 season, the height of my obsession. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Ben: Football, Rugby League, Pro Wrestling, Travelling, Photography, Dog Walking, Beers and Playing Out. I've rediscovered it recently. No texts, no calls, just cycle right the way across town to knock on a friend's door. If they're not in, unlucky. Question: What would be your "dream job/commission"? Ben: Working on the posters for Wrestlemania or album artwork for Eminem. Question: Who is/are your musical hero/oes? Ben: Eminem, Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn, Ian Brown. Question: Do you have a favourite Cafe? Ben: Antonio's in Manchester near Piccadilly Station. It's gloriously greasy, the cutlery is so dirty.
Channel 4/E4, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Manchester United Football Club, World Wrestling Entertainment, Next PLC , Russell Brand, UNICEFFavourites