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Speaking at Bedfordshire Entreprenuers

Posted on by Ben Hodson

I was asked to be one of the main speakers at the launch of Bedfordshire Entrepreneurs at the University of Bedfordshire.  I talked about my art practice and how that has lead into setting up business' and social enterprises.  The feedback was good and I at least was able to pu together a visually stimulating presentation.

Don't be cool

Posted on by Ben Hodson

This is a poster up at the University of Bedfordshire, the slogan is from the Incomplete Manifesto for Design.  The words, started making me think about my work and how often, I do things because of what other people think.  Its not that I am trying to be "cool", but there is a certain element of wanting people to think "wow" when they look at my work.  Some of this is due to one of the main points of my work is social responsibility, therefore people hopefully will be affected by what I create and therefore the role of the viewer is important in my work.

Reflecting on my work constructed & photomontages

Posted on by Ben Hodson

In my own practice I have been creating slightly more abstract and directly constructed imagery.  My series of work “Light in the Darkness” depict a number of locations and more importantly events where light and dark are captured in tension with each other. The process of painting with light forces me to slow the image creation process down.   I used over 10 Min exposures, torches, flashguns, assistants and lots of jumping up and down to create these fictional events. The images are carefully assembled from pre-conceived ideas and compositions.  The work is inspired by artists such as Jeff Wall or Gregory Crewdson, who are not considered modernist, however, the inclusion of the painting with light technique involves a direct light invention as in the photograms of the modernist photographers.  The simplistic and almost abstract compositions that are produced could also reference modernist inspirations.

 

Another style of work that I have been working on is using montage or more specifically photomontage.  As a technique it is very similar to David Hockney’s Joiners from the 80’s, although it also has close associations with some modernist movements. Taking from Cubism’s lead a number of other modern art movements starting working with collage and photomontage.  Some of the key artists include; Raoul Hausmaan, Hannah Hoch, John Heartfield (Helmut Herzfelde) and the constructionist Alexander Rodechenko.  The format was also used by some of the artists in the Pop Art movement, such as Richard Hamilton, who was known for his re-appropriation of images from popular culture.  With my series “Lutopia” I stood in a location and extensively photographed a scene with an exact number of images.  These images were then cut up and glued to hardboard.

 

The large scale photo-montages depict views of in and around Luton.  The fragmented works envelope the viewer in a distorted panoramic world that seem familiar yet somehow painterly.  The collection makes an enquiry into the photographic image as an object, a self-referring form.  Photography has lost its association with the notion of truth. The work does not resist this change, it embraces it.  There are many imperfections and repetitions in the work. This is intentional, as it again references the passage of time, fragmentation and the cubist inspirations.  More importantly, it shows how I have begun to create and subvert the image to reveal my reality of the place (as a painter would).  Although the image is no longer a true photographic representation it remains connected to my interpretation of the truth of the scene. The terms montage and collage are often used interchangeably and both are associated with the early stages of modernism.

The Medium is the Message, the Process is the Product

Posted on by Ben Hodson

In looking at my own practice, I decided to deconstruct something I do fairly regularly; take photos/portraits of people while I am in other countries.  In looking at what was most important to me, I decided to start shooting portraits of British people, in a very similar way to which I have photograhed people whil abroad.

Exhibition: Transition

Posted on by Ben Hodson

Click on the image to see more images.

In the gallery space in the UNiversity of Bedfordshire, four Latvian print makers put on a show of recent prints.  

What really inspires me?

Posted on by Ben Hodson

As part of the reflective of my practice, I asked myself the question: What really inspires me?  I specifically looked at the question in relationship to my work, however, answering the question in the context of my whole self is worth noting and is still very connecting.  The first thoughts that came to me were: Creativity, community, making a positive difference, image creation, other people, stories and connectedness.

This image (above) is me snowboarding down some untracked slopes in the Italien Alps, the adreniline fueled desire to discover new things and creates new lines is very closely associated with desires I feel when I create.  

Reflective thoughts on my wonderlust.

Posted on by Ben Hodson

Locations of where my family and I have travelled to.One of the initial reasons I got into photography was due to my enjoyment of travel and seeing other places.  My parents are well travelled and I grew up travelling to a number of places.  This includes living in India for a couple of years and spending extensive time in France, Southern Africa and central Switzerland.  This desire to have these experiences, very quickly led to my desire to document them.  This obsesive desire to bring back visual record and "evidence" has dominated a lot of my practice as an artist.

This realisation of my conpulsive nature when it comes to photographing everything that goes on has led me to think about this nature in certain people.  This eventually led me to start investigating the relationship between photography and the advance of the European empires.  Colonisation and photography do have an interesting relationship, I am will continue to investigate this further.