Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Artist of the Week

Ben Tour

Women posses many qualities, among them beauty, but with beauty comes imperfection. The unfortunate part of it all is that they try to hide these imperfections, when in fact these marks and lines, these freckles and cracks are what makes them unique. Hair wild and splitting, skin tone pale and washed out, clothes old and torn, there is beauty to be found. Beauty of innocence, of intelligence, of heart, of mystery... to capture the image of a woman is to capture beauty and all of its imperfections.

Vancouver artist Ben Tour has discovered the ability to capture the female image with all of its sporadic splotches and colorfully placed explosions. Working mostly with portraits, Ben allows his subjects to form loosely, rough edges and all, much like your first impression of a person when you met. His work has been show across the US and Canada, and this summer amidst the galleries and group shows, his life will change forever.

Recently, Ben was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your work?
Ben Tour (BT): Figurative, emotion filled, character based paintings and drawings.

OA: I've read that most of your pieces begin as ball-point pen sketches. Do you use a picture as a reference point, or do you use live models, or do these images just appear to you? Where do you draw inspiration from?
BT: I use pictures, live models, whatever i can get to fill in the blanks of drawing a pose. If i need a knee or a nose i have to hunt for it if my natural drawing ability is needing some help.

OA: What I like most about your paintings are the imperfections, the splatters and spots, the pieces are defined and controlled but there are also unpredictable moments. Is this technique used because your subjects are human and by definition imperfect? Do you feel there is a connection between style and subject?
BT: That's interesting. Little happy accidents i suppose. I just enjoy making all the detail with subtle colors. The drips and splatters definitely help set a somber mood i try to achieve with my work so yest their is a connection with the way i lay down the paint and the characters mood.

OA: What is the significance of the number and letters in your pieces?
BT: Just the bells and whistles at the end- a finishing touch to add interest. No real hidden meaning. Its become a trademark of mine now and I've stuck with it.

OA: Do you have a set color pallet that you work with? Do you feel there is a connect between color and emotion in the viewer, and do you ever consciously try use this connection?
BT: Absolutely. Now more than ever I'm becoming a little more adventurous with colour and expressing mood with it. I definitely have colours i feel comfortable with and try to work within them. I want to make some ambitious colourful work in the future.

OA: What's next for Ben Tour?
BT: Group shows with the Galleries I'll be doing solo shows with next year. I'm expecting my first child in June so everything is gearing up for that. Check my site out to see where I'll be showing.

Bonus Questions:
Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
BT: Yes! definitely coffee, cant live without it. Right now I'm drinking a lot Milano coffee at home and at my favourite coffee shop here in Vancouver- Napoli on Commercial Drive.

OA: I've heard you are a fan of hip-hop and instrumental hip-hop in particular, who are a few of your favorites and do you listen to music while you paint?
BT: Ahhh. I've been listening to Burial. Lots of clubby new electronic whatever music. Some old Theo Parrish House stuff, James Holden. My wife and i have our own club night in our living room.

For more information on Ben Tour please visit his website.

1 comment:

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