Ben Ark is a contemporary landscape artist based in Salford, in the North West of England. With a passion for art and photography from a young age, Ben was brought up in the era when digital photography and darkroom technologies collided. These early learnings still have a presence in his arts practice to this day. His mixed media creations merge traditional painting techniques with modern skills such as digital painting and photography. Most pieces are created using acrylic paint, watercolour, ink, digital mixed media collage (merging hand painted areas and elements of digital photographs), pigment prints, gels, pastes, resins and varnishes on wooden art panels.
Ben’s work is distinctly his own, having created a style through many years of experimentation and failure, but ultimately a determination to learn from each experiment, good or bad. With no formal art training, he isn’t afraid to break traditional art rules as he was never told what they are. Through his landscapes he looks to generate a sense of movement, time passing and a hint at a life having been lived within that landscape space. Revisiting landscapes and themes, he is able to rekindle memories he had long thought forgotten.
The genre of landscape art allows real freedom for Ben Ark. Rural scenes, contemporary cityscapes and modern roadscapes can be both similar and different to each other in so many ways. The variety of subjects he is able to work with keeps him hungry for new projects and the passion for his work is evident in each piece he creates.
As humans, we have the ability to shape our surroundings and landscapes, similarly the landscape has the power to shape us. He hopes that as people view his works they resonate with the viewer. This can be for any number of reasons, each one of them valid. The works may relight a trace memory in the viewer or spark a new perspective, and can be many different things to many different people.
Ben feels it is essential to head into the world on visits and adventures to witness new things and create fresh memories. He has recently enjoyed documenting the journey from A to B themselves to track his movements between different times and places. Roadscapes became particularly important for him during lockdown as he dreamed of past excursions, longing to visit family and friends, and imagining new adventures yet to be had.
Here at Hope Gallery, we have a large collection of these roadscapes, a couple of which featured in the recent “Days Like These” exhibition held at the Lowry Art Gallery in Salford sitting alongside the work of other Salford artists including L.S. Lowry.