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Sketchpad Artist: Benjamin Harrison 06 Apr

Benjamin is one of the twenty Outhouse artists who have produced a limited edition cover for our A3 53gsm Typo sketchpad. Benjamin helps run Outhouse, working alongside Tasha Whittle and Jay Sharples. We spoke to Ben to find out more about him and his work.

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Tell us a bit about the idea behind your sketchbook cover?

There wasn’t a single idea behind it to be honest, like a lot of my work it was a mix of sketches and ideas I’d had floating around at the time. I think this was a mash-up of various doodles, some sketches for a large painting from another project and then a couple of photographs that were in my studio.

How did you get involved with Outhouse?

I have helped manage the space and the project for a few years as well as doing some painting and a sketchbook cover. Tasha (who was one of the founders of the project) and I had been friends for a while and worked together before on lots of things, when she wanted someone to get on board with her I jumped at the chance.

How would you describe your work?

Well for this kind of work I try to make quite elegant and simple cartoons I suppose, however they usually ends up being a bit weird and erm…..dunno, mutated, or unsettled.

What inspires you?

Seeing other people work, it is infectious to watch other people getting lost in their work and it makes me want to be a part of that; from theatre to comedy to musicians or artists there are people who’s approach to their craft makes me want to get to work on mine. In terms of other images that might inspire me, at the moment there are a few photographers who’s output enthuses me to make pictures.

Who is your favourite artist or maker?

Ooof. Depends on what day it is! This afternoon Viviane Sassen and Al Hirschfeld are the first two names in my head.

What materials do you use?

For this kind of work I sketch out in pencil, I use cartridge paper and tracing paper to work through a few drafts to get the composition how I want it; I’ll then use a mix of things depending on what kind of marks I need. Usually charcoal pencil, brush pen, black and white ink, block printing, collage, I’ve just started using chinagraph pencils too. Basically I work in black and white with a range of marks and lines to come up with separate layers, these will then be scanned and overlaid digitally or I will silkscreen them. Or risograph in this case, which works great…I will use it again.

What is your favourite piece of work that you have made?

Currently it’s this one… for the sketchbook cover, it just came together in a way I like. Also a poster I did for a night called DrawNorthWest which had a similar surreal off-kilter vibe with a couple of central characters.

What exhibition or art event have you been to recently that you think is worth shouting about and why?

The recent Inside Out show at Castlefield Gallery stands out, the selection of paintings and drawings was refreshingly different from a lot of what I’ve seen around.

Do you have any advice for artists starting out?

Everyone is winging it so don’t worry too much; be nice, work hard, be good at what you do, make sure you know your stuff, be on time.

What tip would you give to people about one of our products?

I spend a lot of time giving people advice about Fred’s products, yet I can’t seem to come up with a single one right now. Maybe…… “Buy the best one you can afford.”

Where can people see your work? Do you have a website?​

NOPE! Website’s down, I’m on a hiatus while I get a bunch of new work together (and get married). If you want to see my work you have to by an A3 Typo sketchbook from Fred Aldous. I do have a facebook page under ‘benjamino’ you can use to get in touch with me, there’s a couple of prints on there for sale, but otherwise I am a completely mysterious and hard to find right now.

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