year of birth: 1984
country: United States
Q1: When did you start making art?
I spent a lot of time as a young child drawing in my room.
Q2: What does inspire you?
Introspection, Emotions that conflict heavily with the world around me.
Q3: What are your techniques?
Pretty basic, start with a light outline to make sure everything looks right and in place, working general to specific, whether drawing or painting. Then it’s just all adding proper shading or color in the proper spots, general towards specific. Making art is pretty simple that way, even when the end result looks amazingly complex. It’s only complicated if you let it become complicated.
Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
A lot of fine artists like to avoid concrete analysis of their work, what it means and symbolizes, and hide behind a mask of enigma to create illusions of meanings that they may not even be sure of.. They leave work untitled, they value mystery, etc.
I’m quite the opposite. I can tell you what most of my symbols mean and represent, and the very lucid ideas I want to express are what drives them, not the other way around.
This thinking follows from my philosophies, even just on life in general, of what sort of directs and explains everything for me: valuing and seeking the internal (mental/spiritual) state of things, and devaluing the external (bodily/egoistic/superficial).
I realized that this directive can be applied to so many things and explains so much of human behavior, both big and small, from religious and spiritual, to sociological and psychological, to even just fashion, or art theories, like “being unique”, and that sort of thing.
Of course, art is all about form – superficial. So I have to use outward symbols to express inward experiences, as is the goal.
But this is useful!: I realized that as human beings, we are sort of easily swayed, hypnotized, and intimidated by what we can see, by form. We are superficial creatures, and the images we see in the world are striking to us, and we’re obsessed with bodies and objects. And on the other side of this is our tendency to overlook and disregard internal awareness of ourselves. You can see this in the way we fear vulnerability – for instance the way people will often laugh at a person who is being too “open” or emotional, and their feelings often get marginalized in favor of more external/superficial problems, which are seen as being more “real” and important. We’re scared of approaching what’s inside of us, for some reason.
It is this unfortunate human nature that gives me a chance to use superficial symbols – art, to try to communicate certain inward states, which I feel are so important, and thus force people to look at and recognize them. To hopefully use human superficiality against itself. People won’t listen to a well-worded argument as much as they will a well-painted painting.
So, from feelings, symbols develop. Starved figures represent loneliness, a fetal position represents introspection, a child represents innocence, a glowing being represents love, electrical cables represent ego power struggle, a horse represents strength in will, etc. and these are the ideas behind it… Ultimately: loneliness, alienation, jealousy, love, and devotion. All of Which in my mind are connected, and at the foundation of human experience, regardless of whether people can recognize it in themselves or not.
Art, most meaningfully, is just about trying to reach and dwell in that deeper place. And when I started becoming more self-aware about this underlying nature, I stopped feeling like I had to struggle to put meaning in my art, force and fake it. Now I feel overwhelmed, and can’t keep up. It’s really exciting, for me.
Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
I really love dulled colors, when I look at paintings like this, I can just feel the weight of emotions, sadness. I love browns.. reds and yellows, autumn colors. My favorite color has always been red.. Biologically, it’s what’s inside of us: blood. So metaphorically, it represents the inward state of our souls, too. Passion, love, anger, pain, expression…
Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
Recently I was trying to focus on paying more attention to full-figure/object shading, and adding more intricate detail, currently I am working on trying to chase the rather elusive idea of ‘grace’ in overall composition… and thus questioning to myself; why it is that a certain, particular arrangement and shape of things and form is pleasing to us?
Q7: Do you have any project for the future?
Oh, yes! I can hardly keep up with the ideas, I have a number of remakes of old ideas planned, and various new ideas. I keep a journal to record ideas. There are lots of oil paintings coming up, keep watching!
If other artists are struggling with artists block, I would strongly suggest doing a daily project – make yourself do one drawing a day for a year. If you’re anything like me, by the end of the year you’ll have developed a whole bunch of themes, all of your own. Not to mention it’s a lot of fun, and gets you out of the habit of unproductiveness.
Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of BenGoodspeed.
Introspective, Vulnerable, Spiritual.
Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
That’s very tough.. the oldest thing I can find that survives is a drawing of Spawn I copied from a comic when I was about 12:HERE. Greg Capullo was the original artist, and he is one of my main influences, I love all his gritty little details.
Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
Superficially, just continued development of influences and techniques – you can even still see similar details. But inwardly.. a lot of philosphy has evolved.
Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
In the past I considered expressive communication to be the most important property of art. In more recent years I have come to understand art also as an important meditation, into and for myself. Hopefully others can find introspective value in it, too. Thanks for letting me share.