Benjamin Hughes – Artist Interview

29 Jun

Zombie Ben Hughes

Benjamin Hughes is a London artist who, having studied fine art and illustration, now paints and sells his artwork professionally. He has created a range of work featuring zombies with tiny little zombie bodies, big heads and pointy teeth.

We caught up with him to find out how he came up with the idea of having the zombies wield the chainsaws for a change.

Zombie Command: You mark your interests as being about Music, Film, Surf, Skate BMX and Snow Culture, how did you get into art and painting?

Benjamin Hughes: Well surfing particularly, and skateboarding maybe when I was a bit younger (even though I do still sneak out on my Long board skateboard from time to time) has always been a part of my life, just like painting and drawing. Doodling I guess, was just one of the things I was pretty good at and enjoyed, so it was just something I did whenever I had a moment, like in a maths lesson or something. Logo and branding in surfing and skateboarding, from people like Jim Phillips, and artwork from brands like Powell Peralta and Brand X, has definitely influenced my artwork quite a bit when I was growing up and got me interested in art and design. All of which shared that comic book style , yet dark edge and funnily enough featured a lot of zombie culture.

ZC: The work on display on your site is all acrylics on canvas, is this your preferred way of creating your work?

BH: Yeah it’s an easy medium to work which dries real quick, and helps to bring that bright vivid colour that features in a lot of my work. When the pieces are finished and get that final coat gloss varnish they really make an impact. They don’t exactly fade off into the background, they tend to get noticed.

ZC:The zombie characters you’ve created are ‘cute’ and not the typical view most people have of zombies. What’s was the inspiration behind their design?

BH: Not sure I know what you mean??……we all know zombies are just misunderstood, right?. I mean yeah sure, they wanna eat your brains and stuff….. but give them a break, they were just like us once …..and I think most people who visit your site have a secret soft spot for the hoards of undead who want to eat you, and your family members without so much as a second thought…
….but apart from our obvious bias, there’s a lot of humour and fun in zombie movies which I wanted to include in the paintings….thinking about it though, I think the simple stylised design probably was most influenced by what’s happening with graffiti art at the moment. Modern graffiti art has changed a lot in the last few years, in the past it would be just tagging on a wall, but now it’s become symbol based, with artists having their own symbol, logo or character. Artists like Olivier Stak have such a simple clean logo symbol that it almost has a corporate feel to it, so its interesting to see that stuff on walls. So of course I wanted my own symbol, and as a zombie movie fan there was almost no option but to have a cute zombie character, errrr….I meant ‘evil’ not cute.

ZC: The look of the zombies is very uniform. How do you reproduce each one so accurately and how many zombies pieces have you produced?

BH: Graffiti artists tend to use stencils to leave their stamp and to get their message out there quickly. But I never really got on with stencilling. All my stuff is hand drawn and painted, but my work is always very neat and tidy and everything’s where it should be on the canvas in a kind of obsessive compulsive way type way.
Also that iconic film image of the advancing zombie army, always has that uniform, symmetry and perspective, that I’ve tried to recreate in my paintings, I mean when It comes to zombie there’s always the ones at the front doing the damage, the stragglers, and the ones wandering off in totally the wrong direction.
So I kind of wanted them to be creeping toward the viewer, in that uniform chaos of a zombie attack. Plus this was always gonna be a series of paintings so it’s important to create that theme by having a commonality to the pieces. I’ve only produced a few pieces so far but I’m working on some new stuff at the moment.

ZC:We here at ZC are big fans of the little scamps and would like to see more of them if people wanted to own some of your work where’s the best place to see more pieces and buy them? Are you considering branching out with the characters into other mediums? Are we likely to see prints of your work?

BH: Yeah possibly if there’s some interest, could do a small run of prints. Just check out my website www.benjaminhughes.co.uk to see more, where I’ll be updating with more pieces soon.

[flickr]set:72157620591069243[/flickr]

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ZC Barry runs Zombie Command from their HQ in a safely bugged in location somewhere in the UK. Follow Zombie Command on Twitter to be kept up to date with all the latest zombie news.

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Comments (2)

 

  1. Alison says:

    Is it just me or do other people think this interview is really bad? And paintings…well…why on earth would anyone hang those on their wall?

  2. ZC Barry says:

    Sorry you felt it was so bad you had to comment on it Alison :(

    What sort of questions would you like us to ask people in the future?

    The art of course is always subjective; there are many people who like many different things. I could see the pieces in a study or a quirky office.

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