Artist Profile: Benk
For years the interrelationships between humanity, nature and technology have fascinated me and weaved through my Melbourne based art practice. It seems to me that on a global scale we are slowly disconnecting from our natural past. We’re creating a world that gets more and more artificial every decade. Human life is surrounded by concrete, screens, deadlines, passwords and other fabricated necessities.
I grew up in Caulfield where the roads are lined with trees and there are several parks near by. However, I observed that with the exception of household pets like cats and dogs, I rarely see animals. That is besides humans of course, but we don’t like to think of ourselves as animals. We’re different, right?
In 2010, I made a big change in my art practice. After studying Media Arts and a Post Graduate animation course at RMIT, I found a fascination with the still image. I began making framed digital collage prints of what interested me, a visual amalgamation of animals, humans and technology. It was all very tongue in cheek work, playful, silly and vibrant to the full extent of the word. Humans with animal heads, animals with glasses, hats and bows, all within surreal, often technologically based settings. With these humourous works I was encouraging thought on how disconnected from nature we have become as well as how we are effecting the natural world. One work titled “Attack of the Crabs” showed a collage of printers creating a landscape and crabs making our abandoned technology their new home.
In the time since those works, I have continued exploring the same themes through my art practice. In my latest series of illustrations I’ve focused on birds. I realised there was an oversight in my aforementioned observation. We may have built cities which stopped land animals from living among us. For example if a kangaroo made its way into the CBD it would quickly find itself on a long drive back to a world without tram-lines. But we have not pushed away all denizens of the trees. We see birds almost every day of our lives. We hardly notice them, I certainly don’t feel as if I live among birds, but we all do.
My most recent illustrations portray humans wearing bird masks, showing the mental separation between people and animals, but the subjects in these illustrations have real bird feet bringing dissension to the works.
Lately just about all of my spare time has gone into my art. Whether it’s my illustrations, short animations, jewellery or t-shirt design, I really love what I do.
Go to Benk’s online store: benk.storenvy.com