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Studio Visit - Benjamin Ewing

Studio Visit - Benjamin Ewing

Studio Visit with Benjamin Ewing


Ewing explores the power of texture to further the role of relativity and light in his minimalist compositions. Discover more about his unique practice below.

Q.

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist…


A.

Art has always been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. I was consistently drawing & painting as a child and got into photography as a young teenager. I landed a job doing post-production at a local photography studio at age 15. I tested out of high-school and started a full-time college course load & independent studies so that I could work more hours at the studio. It was there that I learned the basics of print design, layout, framing, color theory & editing. One thing led to another and I ended up in Los Angeles designing for a clothing company and doing editorial photo work. Shortly after I moved to Portland to start my own practice, Aesthetic, and eventually found myself painting again. Here we are.

Q.

Where do you draw inspiration from?


A.

Inspiration really comes from all over, the tap is always on. Music plays a huge role in my process; objects I see in passing, challenging conversations with friends, other artists’ work, memories etc. I compulsively buy a lot of books, sometimes more for the layout and images as reference points than the actual content itself. If I’m ever feeling dry creatively I turn to them. I will bookmark, scan and sometimes even set specific spreads as my phone background so that it’s something I’m constantly having to think through.

 

Benjamin Ewing says

"My painting is simply an inner dialogue about specific ideas, principles and current events."

Q.

Describe your work in three words….

A.

Contemplative. Intentional. Emotional.

 

Q.

What is your creative process?

A.

My process changes from project to project. I spend most of my time alone in the studio, solitude is an extremely valuable thing when done correctly. The themes of my work typically stem from direct feelings I’m experiencing from day to day or topics I’m wrestling with. There’s typically a lot of sketching involved, editing, walking away from it, coming back to it, editing again and then eventually sitting with it long enough until it feels complete.

Q.

What influence does modern culture have on your work?

A.

I think it’s inescapable. All of my work is a visual response to modern culture. For instance I was spending too much time in digital & getting constant feedback, so I found something that slowed things down and got me working with my hands again. In turn, I hope those that buy my work also utilize it as a tangible/visual escape. I do my best to listen to existing cultural narratives. I’m working hard to find the best way to house those perspectives and be an ally in reshaping some of the status quos of modern thought. I’m beginning to throw myself into these conversations with some of my newer work. I hope it’s well received.

Q.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

A.

Inspiration really comes from all over, the tap is always on. Music plays a huge role in my process; objects I see in passing, challenging conversations with friends, other artists’ work, memories etc. I compulsively buy a lot of books, sometimes more for the layout and images as reference points than the actual content itself. If I’m ever feeling dry creatively I turn to them. I will bookmark, scan and sometimes even set specific spreads as my phone background so that it’s something I’m constantly having to think through.

Q.

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

A.

There are many, and I pull various characteristics from each of them. Basquiat's approach & his cultural honesty has been incredibly motivating. Sally Mann’s compositions & relationship to her subject matter. Frank Lloyd Wright’s perception of space and adequacy. James Turrell’s use of light as a material. It’s a steeping process of various things you pick up on after continuously subjecting yourself to others’ work.

Q.

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

A.

I picked up on a way of thinking several years ago that has profoundly influenced my work. It’s simply asking yourself when you come to the end of a project, “What is one more thing I can do to improve this?”

Whether that be adding or subtracting something, that extra time spent can really make the difference between a good & a great piece of work. One of the pieces in this most recent collection took dozens of sketches & three destroyed canvases before I got it where I wanted it. Take the extra step.

Q.

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A.

I hope my audience feels like they can take whatever they need from my work. Ultimately I want people will be able to connect emotionally to it, feel love & fulfillment but also be challenged by the work, open their mind & reevaluate their thinking. In my own experience, the line work specifically, acts as a lovely focal point to let your mind drift.

 

Q.

Your practice incorporates various mediums, including painting, photography and design. How do you approach these mediums differently?

A.

Each medium demands various levels of communication. The way I see it my design work is a conversation between the client, consumer & myself. My photography work is a conversation between the subject and myself (although sometimes a client is involved). My painting is simply an inner dialogue about specific ideas, principles & current events. It doesn’t go through quite the same direct critique as my other work does. It undergoes a process of delayed feedback. If the work resonates with others, I know that I’m listening correctly. I’m learning more and more that my role as an artist is to listen and respond accordingly. More importantly to listen.

 

Q.

Simplicity and minimalism seem to be major themes in your work. Why are you drawn to these concepts?

A.

I think I was distracted by a lot of other voices in my prior work. Almost in an indulgent way, these concepts allowed me to put what I was experiencing in my other work into simplified terms. It allowed me to boil down basic principles of photography & design… composition, relativity, light & shadow etc. I’m trying to establish a visual baseline and gradually tackle other concepts with more narrative. I fear being boxed into these concepts as my work frequently gets labeled as minimal. There’s a lot more that goes into it, perhaps I’m fighting my own process. I want to exhaust these themes until there’s nothing there and then I’ll move onto something else.

 

Q.

What makes you laugh?

A.

I have an extremely dry sense of humor, Seinfeld is a good place to start.

 

Q.

What makes you nervous?

A.

Being late. I am an extremely punctual person, to a fault.

What makes you excited about the future?

A.

Creative freedom and the future of the creative industry.

About Benjamin Ewing

With a background in editorial photography & print design, Benjamin Ewing’s work tackles themes of space, relativity and light.

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We invite you to explore our curated collection of abstract artworks by Tappan artists.

 

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Mendi Mendi
Mendi
Regular price $ 16,000.00 Sold
Untitled Untitled
Untitled
Regular price $ 6,000.00 Sold

About Benjamin Ewing

Benjamin Ewing is a Portland, Oregon based multidisciplinary artist currently working in studio art, photography and design. With a background in editorial photography & print design, his work currently tackles themes of space, relativity & light. Ewing’s grayscale palette maximizes the power of texture in his linear canvas works. Utilizing various textures and materials, Ewing encourages the viewer to consider how he or she experiences light as it relates to his or her surroundings. He has been featured on Ignant, BOOOOOOOM and Lula Magazine, among others and currently has work on view at FIFI Projects in San Pedro, Mexico.

STATEMENT 

"My work is an exploration of emotions and how they directly relate to visual compositions. My background in editorial photography & print design gave me the language I needed to navigate these new methods & ideas. I obsess over light and how it interacts with specific materials. My palettes are rooted in post-production color theory, giving the work’s perceived tone flexibility in relation to its environment. I mill, assemble and stretch my frames, so when it comes time to apply the “actual work" I’ve already had an extensive relationship with the materials. The process transitions from a loud abrasive beginning to a quiet contemplative ending. Undergoing this structured process, yields a seemingly simple result. I intend on broadening my scope of disciplines by eventually designing structures, spaces & objects." - Benjamin Ewing 

EDUCATION 

2012, Rochester Community & Technical College

 

EXHIBITIONS 

2018 FIFI Projects

 

PRESS

Shape Shift Report, 2018

Lula Japan, 2018

Ignant Magazine, 2018

BOOOOOOOM, 2017

Vrai & Oro Journal, 2017

Brygg Magazine, 2017