BEN LEWIS GILES

29026775621_73ece8aaa1_o-2CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

BG: I take lots of individual pieces from lots of different things that already exist and I compose them into a new form and meaning in order to make people excited or happy or at the very least mildly amused.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

BG: From the television shows and films I watch, from other artists’ artworks, to the conversations I have, to the conversations I overhear, from the music I listen to, to the music I make by myself or with others, from the things I see or smell or experience, from the natural environment, including the things I want to see but never will with my own eyes, from piles of rubbish on the side of the road, friends’ doodles and cartoons that are better than anything I do, to the colors of painted doorways and windows and kids’ playgrounds, from old imagery, from my own work, from cities I visit with my girlfriend, to the dreams and the places I visit in them that feel so familiar yet unreachable.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

BG: I want them to be excited and entertained, to want to touch and feel it, to see how it was made, to put a smile on their face, for them to want to walk on or around it, to be immersed in the installations or imagery. I like the idea of people being overwhelmed or drawn in.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

BG: I just recently moved to Norwich in the UK with my girlfriend. I currently have two part time jobs in order to balance paying rent and giving a small amount of flexibility to art projects, commissions, and exhibitions. I don’t live an idealistic romanticized way of life as an artist. I rarely stop working, I spend the majority of my free time and time after work working. I find it hard to sit and do nothing, even if that nothing is what other people consider to be relaxing. There’s never enough time and there never will be. I find it hard not to shrug it off or to take myself too seriously; I contradict my thoughts too much.

30220119081_b4c2208dcc_k-1CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

BG: Many of my collage works are informed from the starting image or a loose idea I have and the materials I can find to cooperate. The commercial commissions can be extremely linear and its a matter of try and try again until it fits. The sculptures and larger projects will linger in my head everyday for months or years until they’re finished, even down to the details, there are many projects I’ve planned and dreamt that I’m still waiting to work on. I don’t think there’s a better or worse way of working on anything; each individual piece can require something completely different.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

BG: Never let the failures prevent the future successes.

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

BG: Yeah until someone disagrees with what I think.

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

BG: Finding the time.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

BG: Feeling that something I can create, some semblance of myself will continue to impact others and exist after I’m gone. I guess having something creative to do with my time.

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

BG: Ian Williams, Zach Hill, Steve Reich, Picasso, Olafur Eliasson, Kohei Akiba, MC Escher.

28455516433_7ca3349970_k-3CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

BG: It’s definitely given my work and many others a platform to share their work to the world. Generally that’s a positive thing, its easier to document and record and research, this is the easiest time to be an artist but also the time with the toughest and largest amount of competition

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

BG: There’s ways that I see the world that people in other professions wouldn’t, but there’s whole worlds I don’t know about with other professions.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

BG: I love travelling when I can, either with my girlfriend or for meetings and shows for my artwork. I’ve done a lot of travelling over the past couple of years and its really great to see new places and experience them. I love Berlin but I never feel like I’ve seen enough, there’s so much going on. I recently did an art residency in Norway near Bergen in Alivk, it was on the edge of Hardangerfjord during spring and it was amazing seeing the sudden change of the season into spring and going on hikes on my own and challenging myself. I love Cambridge, Norwich, and Nottingham but there’s still lots of places in the UK I still need to visit.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

681546667555miriamcollablargeBG: I recently read “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel and thought it was brilliant.

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

BG: Just try and show my work as much as possible, to complete some larger projects, and to build some more sculptures and installations.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

BG: Dealing with my own mortality, boredom and restlessness and channeling it and expressing it into something creative.

CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?

BG: Modest Mouse, “Float on”

BG: Los Campesinos’ album, “We are beautiful we are doomed”

BG: Don Caballero’s  album, “American Don”

CHECK OUT MORE ON: BEN GILES

 

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