Fine art student Ben Giles really does have a finger in every pie. The young artist from Suffolk, England, creates art from an array of different disciplines including collage, installation, photography, and did we mention he also makes music with his band Cassetto? The multitalented, dynamic twenty something sets the bar rather high when it comes to his offbeat collages. The mixture of art and photography bring the pieces to life, and with his immaculate eye for positioning, the end result is a vibrant, yet subtly sophisticated, interlace of visual wonder.
We absolutely love your new pieces, what were your main inspirations behind the collages?
I was working on a series currently titled Guardians, it’s pure world building and these were some experimental pieces I thought of separately while using the same materials. There are a lot of inspirations and influences behind my recent unreleased work. These range from books to films. Tolkien, M.C.Escher, The Edge Chronicles, Where the Wild Things are, Moomins, Game of Thrones, Pans Labyrinth, True Detective. It’s essentially addressing my previous work and influences and combining them all into a stronger body of work.
Both architecture and nature are heavily focused on throughout your latest works, what is the relationship between the both for you and how important is the connection?
Growing up in Bury St Edmunds and living in Kingston, London has surrounded me in towns and built up urban areas, as well as woods, forests, parks and fields. Having access to both of these has influenced me over time and heightened my response to both. I feel both deeply connected and abandoned by the world around me. Everything is constantly moving and breathing and living and dying, eventually everything we do will be left as artefacts and will recess back into nature.
This juxtaposition and proximity to the natural world has always left me feeling, both overwhelmed and dumbfounded by its beauty and its size. Seeing beauty in nature and beauty in humanity and its constructs is important and strangely intimidating. It’s a strange contradiction and I hope to balance this in my work.
What direction can you see your work going in in the future; do you have any exciting projects planned?
I'm continuing collage as a personal expression and outlet, the process is too important to me to completely leave behind, it’s both meditative and fun. But in terms of a practice once summer has finished I'm working on some projects I've been collecting for and planning, for years, a couple of large experimental sculptural works and some audience participatory installations.
If you could collaborate with any artist, past or present, who would you choose and why?
This is a great question, Perhaps creating some of my collages into sculptural art, Cai Guo-Qiang or Hirst. I would love to work with the photographers Lukasz Wierzbowski and Alison Scarpulla too.
Describe your art aesthetic in just three words?
Colourful, Thoughtful and Positive.
Can you define the importance of your camera for you in your art-work?
Is of fairly little importance as about 99% of my materials are sourced from other peoples works, but I enjoy photography and would love to explore it a little further.
Talking of cameras, which one has it got to be, ultimate choice?
Boots disposable buy one get one free.
We absolutely love your dreamy yet sophisticated collages, how did you first discover your flair within this type of artwork?
I think most people can be good at nearly anything if they work hard and experiment and put in the effort. I spend most of each day working on my recent works and I think it pays off. After about a week after finishing a piece I can barely stand it and it only pushes me to do better. Is this the best I can do? What am I doing wrong? If I think these things I apply a solution the next time I create. I used to draw a lot and I became better and better, it’s just about applying yourself and having the time to do so. I think maybe I realised after spending days on end without leaving the house.
All artwork by Ben Giles
Interview by Sarah MacMath / firstname.lastname@example.org