Stevenson Art teacher John Headley shares a statement Ben’s work and his growth as an artist:
“Ben has been a part of the arts culture here at Stevenson for five years and in that time his skills as an artist as well as his narrative voice have matured. In recent years Ben has embraced mixed media as it brings together a chorus of techniques and materials to service the totality of his vision. His work is a bricolage of ideas, mediums, emotions and experiences. He is thoughtful about both the physical and metaphysical world which informs his aesthetic choices. This is Ben’s Senior year at the school; for his unwavering contribution to the arts culture at Stevenson we honor him by showcasing his work.”
Ben’s artist statement:
“I identified the importance of artwork in my life when I realized it has a multifaceted effect on my mind; one that is healing, dangerous, spiritual, contemplative, meditative, obsessive, cerebral, trance-inducing, blissful, challenging, and most fundamentally, cathartic. The artistic process for me is tantamount to feeding and nurturing my soul, to refining my individuality, and redefining what it means to be a creator, questioning if it really needs any meaning and if it can live solely on expressive emotion.
“So, in that spirit, here I am attempting to make words of something which I have limited access to, because many (if not all) aspects of these pieces within this collection have their genesis in a place I am constantly striving to be progressively familiar with: The Unconscious. And what else is catharsis, but illuminating the shadowy realms of the unconscious? The concepts behind many of these pieces came out of seemingly nowhere. As did many of the illustrations; the creatures done in ink and pencil. During and after this creative process, I am navigating through my unconscious, penetrating the core of my own inner enigma.
“Art is an exploratory landscape. I am not only exploring my own mind, but I also encourage the viewer to explore their own mind, to ask themselves what they are perceiving, why they perceive what they perceive, and the inherent constructs of consciousness. Some pieces can be seen from farther away, and do not ask of much mental energy. However, there are other pieces in which I am practically begging the viewer to look closer, asking them to see what I have meticulously configured or reconfigured. These are what I experience as my most accomplished pieces, the ones in which words and symbols play constructive roles, as they do in daily life. I want to evoke something new, something alien, and simultaneously, a primordial familiarity.
“In these pieces the viewer may find many religious concepts, either esoteric, or well known. My intention behind studying and interpreting religion is yet another tool for exploring the mind, and in doing so, I believe we inevitably find our relationship with a sense of the sacred, of the divine, even if it is through the profane or the terrifying. That sense of a higher power does not have to be your ‘traditional’ view of God, it can be anything that holds esteem and resonance in one’s life. I believe that creation, one of the essential qualities of nature, is an individual’s most sublime ability.”
Learn more about Stevenson’s art program.