How do you draw the attention of someone in the world of shortened attention spans? 18-year old artist Ben Salley tries to do so by making art that begs for the viewers’ attention. He includes a lot of detail so people have to look at it for a while to really take it in. Check out his intricate work below and be sure to read or interview with Ben that follows.
Click any of the above images to open a gallery of Ben’s work.
Describe your style of work.
I think my style of work relies on the intricacy of being everywhere. Most visual mediums are not given much more than a quick glance. As the worlds attention span is getting shorter, people enjoy to be gratified quickly hence the popularity of vine and social media. I work to create an art with an almost claustrophobic feeling so that the viewer’s eyes are forced to travel around the paper instead of being able to take it in within seconds.
How long have you been making art?
I have been making art since I was a small child but it wasn’t consistently my primary focus. I was interested (and still am) in many other things such as writing and reading, but I have now realized that art is what I want to pursue during my lifetime.
What mediums do you work in?
I work in whatever medium fits best, you know? Depending on the piece any medium could accentuate what the artist is trying to get across to the viewer. But currently, my favourite medium is a ballpoint pen as it is cheap, versatile, and feels good in the hand. I also enjoy India Ink, Photoshop, Colored Pencils, and Markers.
Describe your creative process.
I don’t think I currently have a concrete one at the moment although I think about it quite a lot. Sometimes I will be walking or taking in some form of creative work like a novel or a movie and ideas will pop into my mind one after another. Of course, this is the best thing that can happen to a creative and I couldn’t wait to get back to a piece of paper and put it down. But its never as easy as that, for perfectionism and anxieties come into play. So for now, my “creative process” is simply to be an artist, for myself of course, take in the world around me and hopefully be able to translate that into art. The absence of creative thoughts is definitely not fake but I can assure anyone that it’ll last only as long as you don’t go out and find inspiration. The world is too amazing to not be able to!
Who and what are your biggest influences?
My influences are constantly changing but some of them are Francis Bacon, Franz Kafka, Basquiat, David Bowie, Prince, Yung Lean, JVC Force, Nas, My Parents, Jimi Hendrix, Richard Mosse, James Jean, Vivian Maier, Tokyo Street Racing, Lil Tracy, George Condo, Rammellzee, Norm Macdonald, Hunter, Thompson, Charles Bukowski, Kurt Cobain, Elon Musk, and everything else in the world. I know that may seem like a lot but it’s hard not to name at least that many.
What does art mean to you?
I don’t really know what art means to me, not yet at least. One can’t really talk about what art means to them, they can only talk around it. If you could explain it with words why would you bother to draw it? All I know is that I need it and I love it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In 5 years I see myself as a drifter in Tokyo, selling art on the street while I fill my life with sensations. Or something else, I really can’t tell.