who am I and other unanswerable questions

Without going in to all the nitty-gritty of my life and to be honest I haven’t got anything to complain about. I’ve bumbled my way for 40 something years and yep I’m still alive. I eat well, I’m relatively happy, yes there always things I want to change or feel I could do better. So the question is “who am I as an artist”, my preferred medium is sculpture, but I never want to close off any other avenues, always keeping an open mind, this is the product of  years of being a model maker, no two jobs are the same and your never going to say “I can’t do that” …  so if the job requires jelly sweets you make them,


Jelly sweets “Randoms”

if the job needs a video, you make it  and so on you get the idea. So who am I as an artist?, I like to tell stories. Aren’t we all storytellers in someway ? and especially artists, giving someone an image to look and to think about, that spurs an idea or leads you down a proverbial garden path is story telling, so thats a given then. So who am I ? My work involves a lot of process, I like process, the making, bending, glueing shaping, to me thats my happy place,  its no accident that I make things for my day(ish) job, the thrill of a open brief  is very exciting, the question “can you make me a ……” from a potential client is a song to my ears. And taking that concept and adding in Ben the Artist He commissions Ben the Model maker to make something is about an open brief one can get, so that why  I am. So who am I ?  The stories choose  to tell, are definitely in the Surrealists, Fluxus and Gonzo camp of story telling so how did I get there, what led me down that path. The people in my life, close and otherwise had a big part in that. My early life has had no real dramas to speak of I come from a loving family, Mum and Dad were and are the loveliest humans, my mum is sadly no longer with us but you can see what  she did when she was here at Haven House and my little Dad couldn’t be more supportive in my crazy schemes. My solo show owes a lot to his help, Two older Brother, both friendly happy people with lovely families around them, to be honest I’m closer to one socially and geographically than the other.

toughest kid in the playground

I love you Bro !

But the point I’m really getting at here is influence, the people in my life have influenced me up to a point. My Parents and brothers definitely gave me a map to follow  for parts of my life, (saying this my dads sense of direction is rubbish so maybe map isn’t the best analogy here but you get the point.) and this in-turn has influenced my working practise. So lets go a bit deeper and again I ask the question who am I as an artist and is this the best question to ask. if I look back  at the start and my early painting

early work acrylic on board 2001

early work “791a” acrylic on board 2001

they are me emulating the artist that had taken hold, Patrick Caulfield, Ralph Steadman to name a few, and at the time I thought I was being original, but this wasn’t me as an artist this was me learning. (oh it might help to say that I never studied art at school or university so the artist exploration happened on my own in a shed at the bottom of the garden)  And today …. I still find the that my work has the flavour of others but definitely just that, a little dash of this, a little squeeze of that, with a strong smell of something I can’t quite put my finger on. I think this is where the unanswerable bit comes in, well for me anyway, I know me too well and I’m too close to the eye of the storm to make a valid opinion. The question gets passed on to the viewer, to see the work and make opinion for themselves.

In todays age of social media platforms and as a woking artist, we are expected and almost necessary to show more and more of the who we are and how we do it. With blogs and video of “how to’s”,  “this is my routine”,  “these are the socks I wear to work” I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I say this coming from a digital immigrants stand point and even tho I have my head around the what, why and wherefores, doesn’t mean I’m very good at it or have to like it. Its not second nature to me and I’ve never been very good at playing the popularity game. I much prefer to dance like a loon, to a tune no one has heard of and if someone starts dancing  great ! nice to meet you.

Having said all that, isn’t this just that, another blog adding to the list of blogs about an artist telling you  “these are the socks I wear to work”  well yes, this is me and my blog, (I really don’t like the word blog,  I think its because its to close to bog and growing up in the uk in the 70/80’s at school thats what we called the toilets “the bogs” as in “you going to the bogs to ave a fag?” meaning “are you going to the toilets to have a cigarette?” …….. can we change it for the purposes of this BLOG any thoughts ?)  sorry where was I, yes the Blog and me dancing like a loon well I did say it was necessary so this me in  Phase 3 of the master plan (check the last post) and me waving a semaphore flag for hello.        This is who I am.. .and these are the socks I wear to work.Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 12.05.22


Starting again….

Notes on……starting again

what feels like  a recurring nightmare, trying to keep to some kind of constancy and seeing that its been so long since I wrote anything, where to start ?

I am now living in Dorset on the coast in Boscombe, two years has gone by and as I sit here looking out the window contemplating on what has happened and how I feel about it, I realised  how much these words will shape how I think about this time in the future. As my memory fades and the writing takes over what kind of rose tinted glasses was I wearing? and was the glass half empty or half full?

“reality Just got a whole lot better”

life is never that black and white, on the one hand my move to becoming more of an independent artist, that journey is well and truly underway. And could be more happy  about it,( more on that to come). but on the other hand, times are hard, money is tight and yes it can be a little lonely out here dancing like a loon to some kind of music that nobody else can hear.


Heres a brief synopsis on the journey so far of  “Ben the Artist in the 21st century” I moved to Dorset in June 2016 , In December 2016/7  I curated an exhibition called Stranger Worlds in the Royal Arcades in Boscombe, with a pop up Christmas shop too.  Then the real work got in the away or you could say I went and made some money. what ever way you look at it some other stuff happened then in October

Stranger Worlds part II The Expedition

I found out about a local Arts Fringe festival happing, so went to town with making and designing my show and in  April 2018 I became a commissioned artist for the Bournemouth emerging arts fringe and had my first solo show


So whats the point of this blog? good question.  I think this bit of back story is to get everyone on the same page, fill in some of the blanks with colour and if I can find the rhythm to keep this up who knows where it will lead. ( I hate that last sentence it sounds  pessimistic, almost like saying if I can be bothered. Come on Ben your better than that. ) ok ok I get it, it only gets done if I get on with it. So here’s to starting again of sorts. So back to the question at hand the best I’ve got at the moment is to document the journey from commercial artist (prop maker, hired gun, monkey with a pencil) to fine artist and all the bits in between and the ramshackle way I go about it, from the inconvenient need to have money to live on ( as off  the moment I’m digging a driveway) and try to explain how I come up with an image and the process it takes to make it happen, the wiring under the floor so to speak.  and how many cups of tea one can drink in a day…..

where does this leave us as of now. I’m starting to look at things as Phases.

  • Phase 1 was the move to Dorset, so we can tick that of the listaffiche-phase-iv-1974-5
  • Phase 2 was to address the balance of the work, well as it stands on paper this is definitely happing 2 years in and 2 exhibition down, but we forgot the bit that I need money so its back on the hunt for cash to keep me in tea and the odd potato.
  • Phase 3 promotion and funding, this is now….
  • Phase 4 tour the show and start sowing seeds for the new show
  • Phase 5 start making new show or putting the pieces in the box ready to assemble.


I think the best thing for me to do now is to wrap this up with some kind of articulate, passing thought and maybe even a question to ponder over. Thinking about the date and that we are about to reach the longest day of the year summer solstice. The marking of any time has for me had a bit of melancholy attached to it, so maybe this is a good starting point to focus on the job in hand and the future plans and try not to worry about the what I haven’t done yet. Oh and Ben in the future put that down and get on with it….. and remember the its not weather the glass is half empty or full its whats in it that matter.