Ben Sanders is the creator of lastnightacollagesavedmylife. He is a collage artist hailing from Whitstable and now living in Ramsgate.
I have followed his Instagram journey since 2017 and have loved watching his style evolve and develop into the stunning spectrum of multicoloured delights that he is currently creating.
One of my favourites is a piece Ben created in 2004. One of his very first pieces in fact. At first glance, you are faced with a rather spectacular 70’s vintage jumper, sandwiched between two monochrome mountains.
There is no head to the body wearing the jumper but instead a mug balanced upside down at an angle above it with an ice blue background that to me resembles a waterfall cascading down into the empty figure. If this was not enough excitement, quietly travelling along a tightrope on top of this scene, is an elephant pushing a bicycle with a naked mannequin on.
Have I got your attention yet?!
You can tell from Ben’s work, being a child of the 80’s and 90’s, that he loves the nostalgia from these decades so when Ben entered his Premier League football Panini sticker stage in 2019, I was beyond thrilled!
Moving on a few months was when I fell in love with his work more than ever!
On 10th February 2019, Ben showed us a 5ft 6 x 4ft blank canvas.
The arrival of religious figures started to enter his work, alongside black and white historical figures and vintage drawings of body parts. Amongst this a little pop up from Margaret Thatcher, Iris Apfel and some stained glass window sections! And as if this wasn’t enough, gold leafing started to make an appearance and from that point I was hooked!
I watched patiently with anticipation over the next year as this masterpiece was added to bit by bit and wow, on the 27th January 2020, she was completed and revealed.
I was not disappointed.
Such rich, luxurious colours bounce out of this piece and the sheer scale of its size makes it even more mesmerising. A real triumph!
I interviewed Ben to find out more about his craft of collage, what inspires him and what he has planned next!
Send us your thoughts in the comments box under this blog ❤🐆
Why collage? What do you love about it?
I’ve loved collage as a medium since my days at art school in Winchester. I thought the collages made within the DADA movement were wicked and it kind of went from there. A mate and I used to have fun making figures from body cut outs when we were 19 and I’ve always liked making new faces and figures from different body and face parts – a collage form of the kids’ game consequences if you like. The process of deconstructing and reconstruction is one I really enjoy and gets the creative juices flowing. It feels punky and freeing. You can change the style and outcome but generally the process is always the same and is the anchor.
The work has gone through various changes and phases but is always sentimental to me in some way. I like to keep things moving and progressive to keep my own interest and excitement flowing. Whilst I enjoy order and structure in the work I like to avoid it becoming too predictable and like to take some risks! Currently I am creating work based around geometric shapes and influenced by religious art from visual and spiritual perspectives. The work is bright, busy and kaleidoscopic, and looks almost like deconstructed icons.
Where do you get most of your collage material from?
I tend to source imagery from 60s-90s magazines, annuals, books etc., but also use contemporary fashion, design and photography magazines. These are either purchased in book stores, off supermarket shelves, donations from friends or via eBay etc. I often leave it up to chance as to what imagery I use but also look for certain themes of personal interest, religious iconography and 90s football to name two.
What/who inspires you?
I really enjoy art work that is authentic and playful, and triggers a response in me. My favourite artworks are often made by artists that aren’t academically trained in the subject – outsider artists as they are often referred to as. Having said that there are a lot of contemporary artists making incredible work. Outside of the gallery I see a lot of this on Instagram, particularly during the pandemic. My inspiration for the work can be via things I see outside of the art world; a pattern on a wall, a stained glass window; hanging washing (literally anything ha!).
What artist has legend status in your eyes?!
I’d probably have to say me. Ha! Nah, I find this one hard to answer as this changes all the time. My favourite artist currently is Abel Berger – seriously beautiful stuff.
Best collaging tracks to listen too?
To get in to the flow I’ll often stick on a Four Tet playlist. Something chilled with a pulse. I know I’m in the flow when I’ve accidentally listened to one album about 3 times in a row!
Any upcoming projects?
No major projects on the go currently but I am working through commissions, recently produced a range of prints in collaboration with a Screen Printer pal, and have just started a new piece. I have a vision of the work I want to make in 2022 so looking forward to getting on that! Collaborations and shows have been on pause due to the pandemic. Also watch this space for a potential collab with Eccentric Leopard!
How to contact you if want to buy or commission a piece by you
I have work in art shops in Margate and Ramsgate, but most of my commissions and sales tends to come in through shows, via Instagram @lastnightacollagesavedmylife or via my email address on firstname.lastname@example.org