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Meanwhile, in Barbara’s Garden…

By Ben Crawford

"These paintings stem from little kernels of ideas; stories and memories lodged in my brain. Sometimes there’s a specific image I’m trying to re-create, but more often I’m trying to produce a familiar feeling in the work. This initial concept stage is such an important part of my painting process. I probably spend more time thinking about a piece than actually physically producing it. Using photos, drawings and collage I translate these ideas into a loose plan for the painting, then I’ll transfer these compositions on to the canvas with charcoal. Every painting is a different beast. There’s a real interplay between my initial concepts and the abstract qualities of the painting process itself which always surprises me. I think it’s important to let the painting dictate what decisions need to be made next and not force it to become something it doesn’t want to be. Out of this kind of conversation, that initial kernel, that tiny idea, can grow into something strange and wonderful."

Ben Crawford is a figurative painter. He takes inspiration from a variety of sources, and uses a mixture of mediums to make his work, from traditional painting techniques with oil and synthetic polymer, to spray paint and mono-printing. Surreal elements transform the traditional landscape into a somewhat mystical realm, bursting with colour and charged with mystery. Figures, architecture and landmarks drawn from his life imbue the paintings with a sense of narrative, anchoring his work tentatively to reality. The notion of mythologising memories is something that informs much of Ben’s work and acts as an overarching theme he comes back to time and again.

Born in Cork, Ireland, Ben studied painting at CCAD and graduated with a first class honours degree in fine art in 2007. He now lives with his wife and two daughters in southern Queensland, painting from his studio situated in the verdant landscape of Currumbin Valley.


oil on canvas
40x50cm framed