Interview – Tsunami Magazine August 2005
When did you discover your talent and decide to become an artist?
I was always involved with creative people and creative projects (art, music, film), but it wasn’t until about 6 years ago that I decided that I would seriously apply for university to see if the work I was doing was legitimate or relevant in some way. I spent about 12 weeks putting together a folio of my work and sent it off to a few of the Uni’s and Tafes around Queensland.
What is your formal training?
I spent the next 2 years completing a diploma in Illustration and New Media at Southbank Tafe; learning various fine art approaches as well gaining knowledge in all the current graphic design and website applications. The following year I commenced my Bachelor in fine art at Queensland College of Art majoring in painting and I have just completed my honors year as a bonus to that degree.
Please describe the different forms and styles of art you produce.
My work tends to fall into the category of landscape – mostly dealing with urban environments / seascapes or skies / storms, even when I take on a portrait it seems that I can never leave the canvas without some reference to a horizon line some where within the work. I deal primarily with photographic subject matter and through the use of various camera techniques such as cropping and blurring I play with the notions of abstraction and the sublime.
What challenges have you faced in your work?
The biggest challenge for any emerging artist is to balance time, expenses, work and relationships. The main thing to realise is to make enough time for your practice and the actual making of artworks, getting exposure seems to fall into place if you do the work required and push / nudge in the right directions.
Recently I have been asked back to lecture the 2005 illustration, new media and graphic design students in technical drawing, watercolour and professional practice. I’ve also been pretty lucky with art competitions such as the Thiess Prize 2004 and the Churchie Art Prize 2005 as well as having this exhibition space offered to me by Arts Queensland and Brisbane City Council. That’s for my first major solo show so it’s pretty nice. Considering it is only my first year out swimming with the big fish, I am quite pleased with where it is heading.
How has the internet contributed to the promotion of your artwork?
Being able to send out an email with links to images on my website, links that anyone can click on, and see your work at anytime from anywhere makes everything a lot simpler. Whether you are applying for a competition, a job or showing a client your previous exhibitions it saves the hassle and cost of burning disks, printing C.V.’s and mailing them out, just send an email with links and they can see your commitment instantly.
Where can we see/experience your work?
My new solo show opens at Hands on Art on the boardwalk at Southbank, Brisbane on Friday the 29th July, all works can be viewed on my website at www.benjaminwerner.com.