Hi Ben! We are so excited to be collaborating with you on our SS19 campaign – can you tell us a bit about your style of art?
My artwork is primarily collage and installation based. I like creating things out of lots of pre-existing materials, the challenge in finding all the right pieces to the puzzle can tricky but extremely rewarding. My work is often colourful, bold and channels a lot of positivity but it can sometimes be a little dark or surreal.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 26 and grew up in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. I studied at Kingston University in London and moved to Norwich a little over two years ago. I’ve showed my work in various places across the world including London, New York, Toronto and Rome. I’ve been lucky to produce artworks for clients such as Google, Apple, New York Times and Vice Magazine.
Our SS19 campaign is all about Metamorphosis – transformation and change. With nature being a big part of your work how do you feel about being part of this?
I’m incredibly excited. It’s a perfect channel to create something I’m confident with and love working with. This is a very large scale project to sink my teeth into with quite a broad spectrum of final works. I’ve always loved and explored the theme of Metamorphosis in the past, so it’s very exciting to utilise this as an ongoing piece that itself will evolve over time as the seasons change. Having my works evolve throughout the year and bloom and change is something I've never tried before.
There are three phases to your art installation at Jarrold – what are they and what can we expect to see during this 16 week showcase?
So the installation and window displays will evolve and display its own Metamorphosis as time goes by and the seasons begin to change. The first is early spring, so expect to see lots of bulbs and buds appearing, preparing themselves to bloom, lots of little caterpillars crawling around getting ready for transformation. The next phase is when it traditionally becomes spring, all the colours start appearing, all the butterflies start flying from their transformation and all the flowers start blooming. The final transformation will be an extreme of the first two phases and the butterflies are really going to take over the whole department store. They will be everywhere, it’s going to such a great sight to walk past and explore. From the windows, to the inside, to the exterior of the building, the whole of Jarrold will be a big visual installation to announce the transition from spring to summer.
How important is bringing art into unexpected places such as department stores?
I think it can make a big impact to the consumer, it can create a non-commercial feel to an environment. It stops just becoming a shopping experience, but allows to just become a different experience altogether. I believe people will remember the displays and feeling of walking in such an environment or even walking past the windows. I’m always drawn more to stores or online stores when the art direction and displays are visually engaging.
The main message of our SS19 campaign is to inspire our customers both loyal and new to make a small change that can create a big difference to their lives, to the lives of others or society in general. How does your work reflect this?
In a world that is going through a lot of change at the moment it’s easy for society to become increasingly negative. What we all need to realise is that for every negative thing there are glimmers of hope and positivity around the world and this is what we are aiming to achieve with the ever changing art installation at Jarrold this Spring. For example, 99% of the materials I use in my work are recycled from old books and magazines from charity shops, car boot sales occasionally eBay and all my paper waste is then recycled too. If we all made this small change into reusing materials it could make a big difference to the world.
I hope my art brings some positivity to people’s lives. I love that my work is going to be seen by so many people and I hope this positive and uplifting message will inspire some people as they walk past the windows or visit the store.
What can people learn from your work?
Something I’ve always wanted people to gain from my work, especially my installation work, was the sense of excitement, that it’s okay to feel excitement and joy when looking at artwork and installations. To learn to feel joy and happiness in something as simple as some paper stuck together or something hung from the ceiling. I’ve always loved creating environments when I’ve had the opportunity and looking at people’s reactions, the kind of overwhelmed and engaged expressions. This is why it’s a perfect match to working on this spring campaign for Jarrold.