Interview with Ben Aslett

Please welcome Ben Aslett, illustrator living in Devon, whom we chose as an interview partner this week.

His illustrations are simple, yet expressive: Little characters with oversized heads working at their computers, driving their cars or jogging around town, literally keeping their inner clockwork busy.

On our ARTFLAKES blog he explains when and why he started making art, what his usual workday looks like and what taste of chocolate he likes best. Go on reading, my dear!

Why and when did you start making art?
As a teenager I was really into skateboarding, I bought my first deck when I was about 13 and got a box of old skateboarding magazines with it. I remember staying up till late just trying to draw the photos in the magazines.

Skateboarding is such a visual sport and I could spend hours just looking at the photos and different deck designs, I was never very good at skating and gradually making art replaced it. Art was really the only thing I was good at in school and I had a really great art teacher who recognized my talent and I gradually started to take art more seriously.

What kind of art do you make?
I always aim to try and create fun images and I really enjoy working with colour. Most images start off as a rough sketch really just to show the idea and then I just start working digitally. I have worked to keep my process as simple I can, mainly because I have a short attention span and I get distracted by other ideas far too easily.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I try and keep a sketchbook to hand and I think most ideas are sparked off by a little drawings I have done or a word I have jotted down. I try to experiment with different techniques and processes as much as I can, so this often sparks off different ideas and different directions to take my work.
I also love collecting bits and pieces of interest, I have tons of artist books, zines, cigarette cards and annuals, these are a constant source of inspiration. The internet is also a great tool, I can spend hours zoning out on blogs and artist websites.

What does your usual workday look like?
Well I have a day job to pay the bills and my illustration just slots in and around that. Normally I procrastinate a lot before I get down to doing any art work, but I guess I work best with some headphones on just listening to some music.

How do you spend a perfect sunday?

A trip to a gallery or museum, a great big roast dinner followed by a nap and then drawing to some music in the evening, or maybe even a trip to the cinema.

What is your favourite taste of chocolate?
I like most chocolate but I just ate a jaffa cake and that was tasty.

Whom should we interview next?
Abigail Mckenzie, Benjamin Wright, Donya Todd, Jack Teagle, Clare Owen, Jess Douglas, Chloe Ehninger, Philip Harris, they are all very talented friends of mine and I would definitely worth checking out.

If you could have coffee with a famous artist – dead or alive – whom would you choose?
I’m always amazed by just how prolific some artists are, I always admire artists who have a prolific output but still manage to maintain a consistent and recognizable aesthetic. I think I’d feel really awkward if I met any of my idols for coffee so I’d much prefer to be a fly on the wall and just watch how they work…Jeremyville, James Jarvis, James Yang, Nate Williams, Keith Haring, Henry Darger, Noah Woods all of these artists are fantastic and I’d love to watch them at work.

What is your philosophy of life?
I just want to continue doing what I love, it can be quite disheartening at times so I think its important for me to try and stay positive and just keeping knocking out images and enjoy the adventure.

Thank you, Ben!