Ben Ashton-Bell exhibits works that explore the self destructive nature of man, and nature taking back its rightful place in our world
Ben, you broke away from your full-time job as a graphic designer three years ago to illustrate more – what have you discovered along the way?
It's a lot of hard work! I've learnt to slow down. From the fast-paced environment of the studio to working at my own speed took a bit of adjusting. Taking my time to produce the best work I can; definitely quality over quantity. Whereas for commissioned work, there has to be a balance between time spent that fits the budget.
You’ve got a vast graphic design portfolio as well as loads of illustration works. Does your flair for illustration feed into your graphic design work, and vice versa?
Yes and no. If the project calls for it, I'll try and bring my illustrative techniques into a graphic design job and alter it to fit the style of the job. I've actually been getting a lot of graphic design jobs which call for illustration lately. (The best of both worlds.) But when I'm at home working on my personal stuff, it'll be completely different to the work done in the studio. Graphic design skills always lay a very helpful hand to composing my illustration pieces. But for me, there's quite a different process between the two.
This exhibition explores futuristic themes and “nature taking back its rightful place”. For us, it sounds like there are themes similar to some Japanese anime, a la Miyazaki...
I've never really looked at it that way. I don't really focus on any particular culture for inspiration. I pull different aspects from a variety of different things. Nature and the awareness of the environment have always interested me and often recur in my artwork. And I do own quite a few of the Studio Ghibli collection.
Can you tell me a little more about what we’ll expect at your exhibition?
Hopefully something worth seeing. Head to my blog to check out a few videos and sneak peeks.
How does the Jacky Winter Group’s Hatch program help young illustrators realise their potential?
It's a great way for emerging illustrators to be introduced to the illustration world and how it works. They offer a great support system and help to give emerging illustrators confidence in developing their craft. I'm really excited to be a part of it.