Beginning his career as an artist in 2010, London based Ben Levy took a leap of faith and gave up his nine-to-five to follow his passion. He had his first show at “Nowhere North” with such success that it shortly led to follow up shows at The Other Art Fair in 2011 and twice in 2012.
Developing his craft through his own practice having shunned traditional academia for real world experience. Growing up in a blue collar environment he explored his views and beliefs through his art although also found himself at odds with the art world institution:
“My feelings changed a lot when I started painting, I started seeing objects, people and art in general in a different light. I found myself struggling to relate to the artists and the work I saw in galleries. I didn’t want art to be my day job, I wanted it to play a big part in my life, reflect on my interests, my home life and most importantly my family. I decided to paint things that I relate to, whether it be a political view or just something that makes me laugh. My ideas evolve from my interests, they must captivate and motivate me, I simply loose concentration when painting something I’m not interested in so I choose not too.”
As a portrait painter, Ben’s ideas often come from the media, and specifically our ever-growing captivation and endless appetite for celebrity culture and the everyday issues that become fashionable through the press.
Having painted for a list of celebrity such as Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg, Sofia Vergara, Jordi Molla, Joe Manganiello and Tyson Beckford to name a few Ben has built up a clientele of the rich and famous to match his artwork.
With only a limited number of works produced every year Ben paints only what he can relate too, he believes in quality rather then quantity, his work has become harder and harder to come across each year.
In a world where celebrity is the new religion and sensationalised press the backbone of information, Ben’s work reflects his views on modern society. Making statements on political, racial, sexual and other global topics, His work ranges from famous faces in unorthodox scenarios to outspoken pieces pointing the finger at corporate establishments.
Portraits are diverse. Supermodels are shown in simple attractive editorial styles. Iconic rock stars, immediately recognisable, satisfy that ultimate commercial desire. Biafran starving children display exploitative global brands and an honest display of political figures show up the unattractive and faux-heroic light within which they envisage themselves.
A recent body of work for Miami Basel focuses on Corporate wealth, jokingly entitled ‘I’m NOT Lovin’ It’ Ben uses uncomfortable images of starving children displaying exploitative global brands to get his message across, some of which he collaborated with his 5 year old daughter Florence to emphasise the opportunity our children are given on a day to day basis, opportunity that unfortunately the subjects in the paintings probably never will.
Part of the show also featured a Ferrari covered in Graffiti, a form of art once considered illegal now one of the most collectable. With words such as power, greed, wealth, love and envy the car along with the paintings helped to show the huge difference between wealth and real poverty.