martedì 28 aprile 2009

Interview with Benjamin Phillips

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)Hello, I’m Benjamin Phillips.

q) Where do you live and work?

a) Brighton and also Brighton.

q) How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

a) I’d say it’s humorous and kinda sweet but with some sadistic undertones. Drawing, etching, painting, different methods with a similar aesthetic. Somewhere between talented and remedial.

q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?

a) I remember telling my mum I was going to art school when I was about 5.

I think I considered myself an artist when I was in green class and Sophie Burn told me that I was the only one who could draw hands. The thumbs are the tricky bit.

q) What are your favorite art materials and why?

a) That’s tricky as I get pretty frustrated if I have to use the same material for too long.

I’d say at the moment watercolour-pencils: you can use them in many different ways and they’re really portable, perfect for train journeys.

q) What/who influences you most?

a) I put a lot of my own personal experience in my work, so the main things that influence me are other people: pretty girls, pretty annoying girls, my mum, mainly girls. I write a lot these days too, which is having a strong influence on my art.

q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a) A typical day… a productive one would involve me starting to work in the studio around 10:27 and I’ll work till 1:00 and then I have lunch, be back by 1:45, then work till 6 or 7.

I might not get that much done though, as I’m easily distracted by sounds and things that move.

q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?

a) I’ve been working on a book of short-writings and images, I’d love it if I could get it published. Though I think the most exciting thing is the possibility that I’ll be presented with a path that I haven’t thought of yet, I want to do a lot of things.

q) What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a) I recently went to Berlin and there are some awesome German and European contemporary printers at the moment. Antoine Bernhart is a favourite of mine, he’s work is ‘sick’ in both respects.

q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a)I usually like to finish a piece on the day I start it, though if it’s an etching I’m happy to spend a few days designing the plate. It depends what/who the work is for. Definitely no longer than a week, I don’t find it fun staring at the same stupid drawing for too long.

q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?

a) I do get attached to originals, but I have no problem selling one of a series.

I like giving my art as presents and I have several friends whose personal space is occupied by my remedial drawings of Batman.

q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?

a) I listen to a lot of folk music, right this very second I’m listening to Tom Brasseau. Though generally at the moment some bands I’m enjoying are Dodos, Andrew Bird, Grizzly Bear, Magnetic Fields. The compilation ‘Dark was the night’ is astounding. I also like writing and recording music and play with a band called alma mahler. We’ve only been together for about a year but we’re playing a few festivals this summer around England.

q) Books?

a) I like angsty fiction. Catcher in the rye, 1984, The Secret History, The Wasp Factory.

q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?

a) I don’t have any strong theories. Just do work when you feel like doing it and have

fun doing it.

q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?

a) I like going to the pub and going to see live music, squash is fun but I don’t play it much these days.

q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?

a) I’m currently in the last few weeks of my degree at Brighton University and we’ve got a show at the Rag Factory in London, just off Brick Lane, and that starts on the 2nd of July this year. I’m also part of a couple of other shows in London this summer, but dates have not been confirmed yet.

q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a) I don’t keep a firm eye on current trends though I look at a few blogs:

Fecal Face, Beautiful Decay, booooooom is pretty good too.

q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.


q) What is the best present you’ve been given lately?

a)I was given half a keg of ale from my sister’s boyfriend’s dad (mick).

He’s a swell guy, as are all the Well’s. I like them all a lot. I’m glad my sister has a good boyfriend as it’s a pain in the arse when you have to pretend to like someone who has to associate with your family. Dave is not that big a tosser.

q) Any advice for aspiring artists?

a) Work out what you are good at and what makes you slightly different from everyone else that dresses the same as you, and exploit it. Be passionate about making your art, but try to forget about it sometimes too.

q) Where can we see more of your work online?


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