Ben Wilson (US)

Ben Wilson (US)

If you're like me, you probably have no idea where is Boise. Hopefully for us, Ben Wilson, who is not only a wonderful designer, give us a clue on his website by explaining that Boise is Built to Spill craddle. This may not help to located Boise on a map, but this will certainly confirm that the place is definitly not to be missed. This said, we can now welcome Ben Wilson on the blog as one of the most original drawer in the poster world, and listen (or read) to his words...

Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?

It is always changing but lately the following albums have been in heavy rotation:

Talkdemonic - Ruins

YOUTH LAGOON - The Year of Hibernation

St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

Micachu - Jewellery

Buke &Gass - Riposte

Miniature Tigers - F O R T R E S S

Real Estate - Days

I listen to a lot of talk radio/podcasts too…

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

I am a creative professional living in Boise, Idaho (United States). My work ranges from handmade mixed media pieces for galleries to digital design for web-based media. However, I specialize in magic flutes, mechanical men, maximum escapism, and touching your neighbor's heart. I also love design that centers around great music. Music and sound are equally as inspiring to me as all things visual. In my spare time I enjoy paying taxes, experiencing rock'n roll, and engaging in conversations with people.

When did you start drawing?

I've been drawing since childhood. It was encouraged in my household and in school.

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?

I did both. Drawing on my own and trying to mimic artists I admired is probably where the most artistic growth occurred in my youth. Pursing my Graphic Design degree at Boise State University definitely had an impact in developing into a full-fledged creative professional. Both avenues, whether structured education or experimenting on my own, have been invaluable.

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?

I am a full-time graphic designer/illustrator/artist/etc… the title "Creative Professional" usually covers all the bases.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

Yeah, whether it's spot illustrations, feature illustrations, cover art, interviews, writing articles/tutorials, ad design, etc… I like to collaborate with magazines on a regular basis, if possible.

Where does your influence come from?

Everything and anything. Music, in general, is one of my biggest influences. It has an impact on all aspects of my career. My family is a big influence… religion, other visual artists, where I live, where I travel, going for a walk, mountain biking, listening to NPR… everything…

Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?

When it comes to other visual artists, the list could go on forever, but here are a few: Scott Hansen, Hayao Miyazaki, Andrew Hem, Henry Darger, Matthew Barney, Chris Sickels, Greg "Craola" Simkins, Blaine Fontana, Jeremy Fish, Tyler Stout, Bill Carman, Erin Ruiz, Erin Cunningham, James Lloyd, Marco, John Vogl, Julie West, Marcelo Macedo, Tim Burton, David Mack, pixar, etc…

What are the principal steps in your work?

I usually begin with lots of research. For example, when creating a concert poster, I'll listen to the bands albums, study lyrics, read interviews, watch music videos, and review other visual art associated with the band. If I'm working directly with the band, I'll discuss concepts with them and present rough mock-ups to make sure I'm headed in the right direction.

Next, I usually do all the main line work by hand. I scan that into the computer and then often create text and other graphic elements using a combination of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I often pick paper stock around this time because the paper color and texture can effect how I do the color work in the design itself. Which printing process I choose has a big impact on the color as well. I often do offset printing because I like to have an infinite color palette and I do a lot of effects that can't be achieved through screen printing. However, I enjoy many different printing techniques.

I then proceed to do all the color work depending on the different factors previously mentioned. I pretty much always do all the color work in the computer. Following that process, I make any last minute adjustments before preparing the file for whatever printing process is used. No matter the printing process, I always hire someone else to do the printing. The last step is to sign and number the edition before shipping it off to the client.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

It is always a combination of both.

How long does it take you to do a poster?

Usually several days or even several weeks. It is difficult to gage because I'm always working on multiple projects at once and I usually jump around to keep things fresh. I rarely just sit and do one project start to finish.

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it?

Thank you. With the exception of fine art pieces I create for galleries/museums, which are usually more personal… most of my work is collaborative on some level. I'm rarely sitting in my office simply following my muse… I obviously use my style, personal aesthetics, and work flow to create any given project… but there are often goals that are not personal that need to be accomplished in order to fulfill the clients needs. I might be up for the oil painting you described, but I don't really picture a client approaching me with that kind of a piece… They are often familiar with my work and that isn't something I'm really known for. On the other hand, I think we could still make things interesting even within that seemingly traditional concept and medium.

For which band have you already worked for?

Rogue Wave, Black Keys, Mates of State, Silversun Pickups, Faulter, etc…

For which band would you love to work?

Animal Collective, Talkdemonic, Sufjan Stevens, Sigur Rós, Flying Lotus, Andrew Bird, YOUTH LAGOON, the list goes on…

Do you choose the artists yourself?

When working for venues, they sometimes let me pick shows that I'm interested in. In the past, I've approached bands I like to see if I could fulfill any of their design needs. However, bands contact me as well. So, sometimes I choose them and sometimes they choose me.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?

Creating something that will stand out from the infinite sea of visual noise that is the modern age.

You feature in the new gigposters 2 book, how did you find yourself involved in it ?

Clay simply sent me an email asking me if I'd like to be a part of it and I accepted without hesitation. Gigposters has helped my career in many ways, even outside the world of gigposters.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?

Sure, we're all part of one scene or another, but narrowing it down to one scene is pretty difficult these days. The lines of any given scene are constantly being blurred especially due to technology coupled with globalization. So, I don't really dare to name any specific "scene" or attempt to peg any other artists within that "scene".

A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?

The best praise you received lately?

Anytime someone wants to interview me, like this... Being published in Gigposters volume 2, anytime someone purchases my work or hires me for a project.

What can we wish you for the future?

I hope I can continue to support my family as a creative professional and that we can humble ourselves as a country (the US) enough to make a difference in the troubled global economy and focus on the needs of others (not just our own).

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