Notes on sowing idea seeds

Sowing seeds 

The process of taking an idea into to a fully formed entity, is quite hard to communicate and part of me feels like if I try to brake down the process I might start to lose the essence of what it is I’m trying to do or loses the magic ingredient what ever that is. That being said I going to try and analyses my journey thought all the different stages from the kernel of an idea right the way though to the end piece. 

The spark that starts the ball rolling is difficult to put my finger on as I tend to sow seeds in my head and keep checking the to see if anything has taken. I’m not sure how far back this idea goes, or to continue the horticultural analogy I have no idea when this seed got sown. What I can do is try and give you my thoughts to each part of the journey.

One of the ideas I’m exploring at the moment is to do with street furniture, not the seats and benches but all the other pavement clutter, signs, lampposts, bike racks, bins, phone box and so on. Invisible to most, but play an important roll in every day life. To a Graff artist they are a blank canvas to the council they are a meeting waiting to happen. To a model maker, its what can make your diorama become authentic and add a slice of realism. and this brings me to some of my thought process, 

Can a box be green and invisible at the same time?

For some reason I’m fascinated with the green utility boxes, or to give them the proper name Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer.


Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer

They are the green boxes on the pavement, that delivers the internet or phone to you homes, its part of what makes our modern world tick.  The image of them has been sitting  deep in my head for some time and the concept to make an invisible box appeals to my sense of image and word play. Also there is a deep rooted desire to make one as a model  other than that I’m not sure . 

 Now I have a frame to work towards I play a sort game in my head, let my mind wander it’s a bit like brain storming and word association with added bit of what if’s, I also try a let the image drift in to my dreams and let that part of my brain have a go too and see if anything sticks.

 Working with the different variables, the jigsaw pieces that are in my head, adding all the, whats it going to be made of,  what  scale is it going to be  this is not only important for where I’m going to make  it, also wheres it’s going to be exhibited and stored also there is a cost  implication to the size too. all this done over a period of time days, weeks, months…… now that seed has be sown, every day I see more connection and the thing I thinking about becomes more in to focus. 

Next Stage: watering the image   

I start finding pictures and  other connections and add them to a file. I’ve begun to look at scale and what it is I’m try to achieve and the resources I have excess to. My initial thoughts were to make it 1:1 scale and put it out in the street but time and money have come in and thwarted that train of thought . So a model it is .  I definitely want to put something inside so this has an impact on size if its to small that

would and could have implications to what it is…. even if I don’t know what is at this stage. 

 Coping with the bad weather of doubt 

The proses of writing it all down is making the normal levels of doubt heightened 

 my doubt manifests it self in the usual  “isn’t that just a shit Idea” “no body wants to see that” “what the hell are you thinking”  “your never going to make it“  This normally happens over a long period of time and seeps in, and is  a bit easier to knock back and not so concentrated as when trying to analyse what’s happening and definitely never identify the doubt let alone written down. My general coping method is to try answer my own critical voice with a mixture of a defiant        “fuck you” and “ok I’ll make a few adjustment”  maybe a phone call to my brother with burning question like “pants on or off” or “if you lived in a green box what kind of hat would you wear ? “ repeat this until it sits happy in my head and the idea has been beaten into shape  and its got to a point were I HAVE to make it.

 Repotting to make room for growth

This idea has take a bit of a back seat  and has been benched but not forgotten. I have revisited another idea that’s been there in the background for quite some time and the making of it snuck up on me, this sneak attack is not very reliable way to make art work, but who am I to deny those frenzied moments especially when I’ve been feeling unproductive and a bit lazy, this is a viscous circle that sits there lurking in the background  not making and feeling a bit shit about it trying to get motivated, but not having any ideas to harvest ( ok Ben enough with the horticultural analogy !) 

So where do this leave us now, I’m off to the big smoke for a few days chasing the money, I’m happy to let someone else make the decision for a change.  And more importantly get to catch up with some friends ( and make some money Ben ! )                                                So let’s say this is part 1 stay tuned in for the next part to see if this idea makes it to the next stage or if anything else pops up in the meantime. 

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.








Someone started the day without telling me…….

This is a new chapter and to have you along for the ride is great, so thanks reading means a lot. To start I thought I would set the scene recap on the story so far.

Its ok, I’ll skip the spotty teenage angst years, moping around wondering what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

This story starts at the bottom of the garden in a shed in the middle of the night  literally shaping my future with clay.

clay skull

clay skull sculpted in the shed

This is where I found my love for making things. I would spend hours down there beavering away making, sculpting. I Played  with all kinds of materials  what ever I could get my hands on and all  without the aide of the internet.  It truly was a time for exploration. The time I spent in the shed really did shape the way I think today with no one tell me how it should be done, I would just having a go and see what happens. And that still holds up today.

Fast forward to today and I still make things,  now it’s for who wants things made, big, round, small, shiny and  sometimes all at the same time.


latest sculpture worked on                 “self portrait of a dreamer” by Joseph Klibansky

And I still love it, each job is another learning curve sometime steep and other times more french. but In this  amusement park of a life, its time for change, its time to get off this ride call “The comfort zone” and climb on board “The last train to trancentral” and set my self a new challenge. So this is it, my public declaration of Ben the Artist in the 21 century. In the coming months I’m taking the steep climb on how to take the art work that was always a  hobby and turn it in to a business, the journey from the shed taught prop maker to an artist with intent. So where does this all lead, I have no idea,  Dorset I hope. But as a great man once said “Buy the ticket, take the ride” I’m strapped in, paid up and this journey is  well and truly under way,  it could be a tragedy or a comedy or even an action adventure ! who knows. All I do know is that I wish ‘they’ could find a faster script writer this ones very slow……

So until next time stay true, stay tuned B.

Day one

It’s always going to start on the first page, this is a good place to start as any. So here I am, making  some words mean something to someone. I think the best way to look at this is it a bit like therapy. I get to ask questions and probably answer some of them and right or wrong my intentions are meant to be honest, poetic and taken with a little grain of salt.

So day one: finding my feet…. yep got that one sorted, ok ok let me start with a quick recap of the past few months, so that we are on the same page.

I’m still in bear hibernation mode, in a cave somewhere in Norfolk. It’s a lovely cave with running hot water, coffee, and the internet. Social interaction is forbidden as this is a distraction from the day to day lessons in scrying, alchemy and a personal study in to the Mountweazles (an amazing creature with some very strange habits, maybe I’ll show you some of my findings one day). And the box collection grows with out even trying, this I will go into with more details, but all in good time.

As I wipe the bear like sleep from my eyes and with the hibernation coming to an end, the new year is racing ahead. This is my way of  rebranding myself into an all singing and dancing, fully paid up member of this club called Earth.

So welcome to my head on page one, stage one, ticking boxes. I’m not sure where this is leading but inevitably it has to head somewhere. My aim is to move southwest, manly towards the sea, and the jurassic coastline. Well that’s the plan, so in an effort to make something happen a rebranding is needed and with a stick with a poker dot hanky on the end I’m ready to go …. just going to have another cup of tea first!………………