Friday, 22 March 2013

Ben Pavey (artist)

Eastbourne Map by Ben Pavey
I was introduced to the art of Ben Pavey by storyteller Sally-Shakti Willow. Ben creates local art, is an illustrator, and also specialises in intricate paper cutting. In common with several pieces currently at the East Sussex Open this is a very labour intensive process bordering on the compulsive and I love the results produced. On the way out of the Open, make a detour through the Towner gift shop as they are currently stocking his A3 prints and mugs. Limited edition A2 prints are at Eastbourne Framing Centre. In the meantime, keep on reading as Ben has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his work for this blog:

tE: What first attracted you to Paper Cut Art?
BP: I was inspired by the work of people like Rob Ryan who create such beautiful, intricate and clever works of art. I also love the traditional Swiss decoupage, often a symmetrical mountain scene as a black silhouette. The functional way it all connects together is often so beautifully done, it's so clever and draws you in to the image.

tE: How long did it take to design and cut the amazing Eastbourne Map?
BP: I started working on the Eastbourne map a year ago, but life took over and it got put to one side. I picked it back up in October , it probably took about 70 hours to draw out. It takes so long because there is so much detail, but also because that detail has to be connected all together and be able to be cut to make one connected piece. I use photos, sketches and Google street view to help compose the illustration. The original intention was to draw it digitally so that it could be cut out by a laser-cutter in wood, they have to be quite big, about 1.2 metres wide and look lovely. I have to make them to order though because they take a day to cut and assemble. The image can also be laser-cut in paper and I've made a few of these, although mostly I have worked with the image as a lithographic print.

detail of Eastbourne Map by Ben Pavey
tE: I saw you are currently also creating a Brighton Map. Do you feel that maps particularly lend themselves to paper cut?
BP: The Brighton map is about 20 hours from finishing, It's taken quite a lot longer and will be a much bigger image. Maps of old towns and cities have a really appealing, artistic quality to them. These urban spaces have evolved as towns and cities and grow out from their old centres creating a focal point that draws you in. I love the way they piece together and create a network that really does lend itself to this sort of illustration. At the moment I am working digitally from my hand drawn sketches and photos to create the paths for the laser-cutter to cut these images out, but I would like to try to make one off hand paper cuts in the future and also experiment with different themes that could be connected in a 'map-like' way but aren't geographical as such.

tE: What future plans do you have for your art?
BP: At the moment, all my energy and time is going into finishing the Brighton map, I'm aiming for Easter and after that I think I'll do a series of smaller pieces to try out some new ideas. I'd like to work in 3D with the same sort idea and I have some ideas for a clock with moving paper cut backgrounds that could be really interesting.

If this blog has whetted your appetite for Ben's work, there's more information on his website and he also has a Facebook page.
A3 prints and mugs are available from the Towner gift shop.
Bigger A2 limited edition prints in blue ink are available from Eastbourne Framing Centre.

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