Interview with kinky artist from DIRTY
“An interesting pose, lighting, and an eye-catching feature like a peachy bum”
published on 2 August 2020
Hello Ben, nice to meet you for this interview. What do you want to express when you’re doing art. What do you feel while drawing?
Eeek what do I feel? I guess I feel a deep connection with the person I’m drawing, simply because I’m studying their body and rubber or their bum or bulge so carefully! I don’t have such a deep connection with the artwork itself, but there is still a bond there. It’s the culture and the community that I have a relationship with. I love the individuality of the kink subculture and also latex as a material – especially from a fashion point of view, it’s fascinating. It’s used in mainstream fashion a lot more than you might expect. Designers are taking the sex out of latex and using it as a pseudo-conventional material which, at first glance, could be conceived as an odd prospect but when you look at design of all types, particularly fashion, you see that it is more often than not influenced by other parts of society whether that’s politics, military, consumerism or fetish. There is a much deeper connection between me and my artwork, I’m not expecting people to realise just how deep that connection because it’s very personal to me. Everyone creates their own unique relationship with art.
WARNING – I’m gonna talk fashion quite a bit, you’ll find out more later. Sorry guys..!
What is the difference for you between illustration and other disciplines of art? Why do you prefer drawing?
Drawing was just something that I was always good at school. I think the four or five years after I left school, I lost the time and the motivation to draw. But now I really take my talent for illustration for granted, it sits alongside the digital work that I do now. It comes in handy in both my day job as a graphic designer and in my freelancing work. I was able to further expand my opportunities when I bought myself an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. The drawing that I do now is done using an extraordinarily powerful piece of software called Procreate. At sixth form, I studied media and art-based photography with a focus on fashion photography, but as I went on to do bigger and better things I left photography behind. I don’t feel a connection with it so much now as I did then. However, I still enjoy taking photos, and I appreciate photography as an art form. In terms of other art disciplines, I’m pretty hands-on when it comes to making stuff. I love a good project!
When and how did you find out you liked kinky art?
I don’t think I ‘found it’ as such, it was more that I threw myself into it because I liked the edginess of it. Its sounds like a cheat but I’ve never been good at drawing natural body forms, so I kind of saw rubbered/clothed bodies as a way to get around that! There are types of art that I definitely appreciate a lot more than kinky art, it’s certainly not my go-to art, but I’ve learned to like it through doing it.
Which techniques do you use for drawing?
So, as I mentioned earlier, I use my iPad. I’ll admit I can’t draw without something to copy from so I find an image and basically make a scaled-up line drawing and then go from there. The whole process is digital, which makes things a lot easier and quicker, although a single drawing can still take me up to three hours to produce. However, I would never claim to be an expert at drawing, there are still a lot of things that I struggle with; faces, hands, perspective, shadows and scale, ugh!
How do you find your subjects?
Regarding my subjects, more often than not, I am approached by people wanting a drawing. When I am actively searching for a subject, there is a loose criteria; an interesting pose – although some poses are so interesting that they are hard to draw! – interesting lighting and an eye-catching feature like a peachy bum!
How have you become an artist? Can you please describe how it all started?
Well, I was always good at art as a kid, it was something that I consistently excelled at and something that teachers would always comment on. Without sounding boastful, I won a good number of art competitions when I was younger and was in the local newspaper for artistic achievements a handful of times. At secondary school, I was able to push myself further as I learnt new techniques and discovered new influences. It wasn’t until I was about 16/17 that I realised I had a passion for graphic design. It was also around that time that I found a love for other types of design; typography, interiors, product design and fashion design. I didn’t study art at GCSE and looking back now, I don’t regret that choice. I’ve taught myself so much of what I know – an inquisitive mind and constant hunger to educate oneself is key to success I feel. At sixth form, I studied media and art-based photography with a focus on fashion. Considering the effort I put into my photography, I got a mere C. My teacher just didn’t like my outlandish ideas. At 18, I left school, the best thing I ever did. Now I wasn’t bound by the rules and restrictions, and the blasted national curriculum! Freedom never tasted so sweet.
So and how did it go on after your school years?
I had two years between leaving school and going to university, I like to call it an extended gap year. Still, in reality, I didn’t really do much. In the summer of 2015, I enrolled at Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design in London. It was a university but not your average uni. It wasn’t partly publicly funded like most universities in the UK are. It was owned and operated by Condé Nast, publishers of Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair etc. I studied on a three-month fast-track short course, cramming in about the same amount of education that a standard fashion student would learn over a year. Everything from fashion history, advertising and creative lead to business and entrepreneurship with a sprinkling of amazing visitors to help inspire us including Alexandra Shulman (then editor-in-chief of British Vogue), Tim Blanks (then editor of Vogue Runway) and the cherry on top, Tom Meggle, the managing director of Louis Vuitton UK! During my time here, I not only expanded my knowledge of fashion but also started to create artistic content for the first time since leaving school.
Are there any role models for you as an artist? And, if yes, what do you like about them?
Damien Hirst is a big one for me – you know, that guy who suspended a dead shark in a glass tank and called it art? Also Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Henri Matisse, Tracey Emin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pierre et Giles, David LaChapelle, Alexander McQueen, Miles Aldridge, Dieter Rams, Guerrilla Girls etc. All of them have something edgy, controversial or a standout feature that grabs my attention, and that’s what I want to do in my artwork.
What types of situations and scenes do you like to draw the most?
I don’t really go for scenes as such. I don’t draw nudity or XXX type scenes, but that’s just down to preference. My favourite types of boys to draw are rubbermen and pups.
Kinky art is about showing and displaying; what means intimacy, privacy and self-expression for you when you’re drawing?
An artist always has some sort of bond with their artwork, but if I’m entirely honest with you, I don’t feel a complex bond with my work, at least not compared to the bond I have with non-kinky work. There is no doubt that I’m proud of the kink community and the individuality and love that is shared within it. I guess my bond is more with how my art is viewed and how it sits within the community.
Which future plans do you have concerning your art?
I have a couple of aims regarding which direction I want my art to take. I also have a few large-scale projects planned including *drumroll please* another big collaboration with a fetish retailer! I can’t give anything away on that right now, but I am in preliminary talks so watch this space. I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy this year on commercial projects rather than artwork commissions, but hopefully, I will reopen commissions sometime in the future. There is undoubtedly a demand for it.
Ben, thanks for this interview!
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