Ben Ark | Manchester
Salford based artist and illustrator whose mixed media artwork reflects his signature theme of contemporary landscapes and urban culture. His fluid mixed media artworks and illustrations have immediate impact and literally stopped me in my tracks in amazement and intrigue.
Ben's style deliberately slips from precise photorealistic detail to less defined washes of colour. He uses a balance of detail, symmetry and movement to create artworks largely featuring contemporary landscapes and urban culture in the North West of England.
Whilst his work is often highly representational, made for visual appeal, he aims to encourage thought about the rich and varied life of a city and stimulate conversation about how we exist within, alongside and sometimes in the face of, a landscape and the secrets that it holds. There is a deeper statement being made about society’s regular ability to ignore the breath-taking beauty of the world around it. Speaking through his work, he aims to continue a conversation that other artists began and encourage the viewer to take pleasure in and undertake a deeper appreciation of the beauty of everyday life.
The creation of his artwork uses traditional painting techniques alongside technology. Most pieces are created using acrylic paint, watercolour, ink, digital mixed media collage (merging hand painted areas and elements of digital photographs), pigment prints, resins, gels and pastes on wooden art panels.
Being self-taught, he is adaptable and constantly evolving to better himself and his work. If a cocktail stick and cake icing bag do what he wants them to do, then he will choose them over other traditionally prescribed tools. Most recently, he has been experimenting with laser engraving in his work. Far from using technology to make the process of creation simpler, he is looking to allow his work to become more and more complex, meticulously designed and intricate.
His work joins Hope Gallery on the back of successful showings at both Manchester and Liverpool Art Fairs in 2019. During the summer of 2018, his work was exhibited and sold at the inaugural 'Open  exhibition' at Salford Museum and Art Gallery. In 2018, Ben was selected to represent his home City of Salford in the 'Technology: Past & Future' exhibition which featured 10 artists representing each of the Greater Manchester boroughs. In 2017 he was picked to exhibit at open calls including Warrington Contemporary Art Festival and the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition in London.
Ben was awarded the title of 'Salford Creative Communities Champion' in 2015 and was also chosen for the neo:artprize, where his work was exhibited alongside fellow contemporary visual artists from around the world. He regularly creates artwork for both residential and commercial settings, working on projects for high profile clients such as McDonalds and has sold his work at charity exhibitions in Manchester, Norway and New York.
Whilst his work is now primarily landscape based, his early body of work predominately featured animals and he regularly exhibited at the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art and various other open exhibitions.