We caught Ben Murphy red handed whilst he was covering the tube carriages on the roof of Village Underground with gaffer tape. And then making art from it… He explains that this is less of a sticky situation and more of a way of life for him…
Tell us about yourself Ben – where are you from/how would you describe your art?
I’m from a town caled Ilkley in West Yorkshire, it’s the same place Alan Tichmarsh comes from. He turned on our christmas lights once.
I’m not sure I’d describe myself as a ‘street artist’, as that is only really a small part of what I do. I am to art what Alan Tichmarsh is to shrubbery.
We hear your unusual medium (electrical tape) was inspired by a drunken night out? What were you drinking?!
Haha yeah, it was whilst I was at uni, so probably some cheap and nasty student drinks. Not quite as inspiring as Van Gogh’s Absinthe addiction I’m afraid.
Tony Husband (Illustrator for Private Eye Magazine) is a fan -is there a political message to your work?
Maybe indirectly, I like to draw certain things that have certain connotations, but I leave the viewers to decide what they mean. What each viewer sees in the work will be totally different to what every other person sees, so I think it’s best not to cloud their impressions by trying to force mine upon them.
Obviously the artist has some level of control, but the past experiences of the viewer also alter how they interpret an image.
How long did it take you to do these (the tube carriages)? And how much tape did you use?
They took two days to paint and two days to draw. I used about 15 – 20 rolls. Usually it wouldn’t take that long but it was super cold.
You create street art in a lot of unusual locations. Where is the most unusual place?
I once did a ‘graffiti’ piece in a disused part of my uni cafeteria. I had to sneak in at night and do it in the dark. It was a big stag with a speech bubble that said ‘Oh Deer’.
Oh and once I did one on a church by accident. I did it at night so I didn’t realise it was a church, I just saw this perfect white wall, I’m sure God wouldn’t mind.
Tell us about your forthcoming exhibition at The Great Eastern Bear?
The title of the show is “Innocence Is A Thing Of Which We Know Nothing”, and it’s my second solo show. (The first was in Hoxton Gallery in November).
My work is constantly evolving and changing itself, so this show is already going to be totally different from the last one. I’m using a lot of new techniques that I hadn’t discovered back in November. The space has an amazing history (it used to be a brothel), so I decided to link the theme of the show to the gallery, it’s all about ‘innocence lost’.
There are also a few of collabs going in the show with some of my favourite artists, Horror!, David Shillinglaw, Nathan Bowen, and 616, who all have different and interesting styles that will definitely work with mine.
It’s basically going to be the best exhibition you’ve ever seen. Or maybe it won’t be.
go to www.greateasternbear.com for more info