We had the good fortune of connecting with Ben Quinn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ben, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking risks is the only way to make something different happen as a result, and in many was is inherent to the making process. I think about risk in my studio practice almost every day because I have certain ideas where there’s no way to know without trying if they’re going to work or make sense. A lot of them don’t, but I have a better perspective on how to problem solve and insight on what not to do which is also valuable. Putting time and effort into failed experiments can be mentally and financially taxing but I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t go all or nothing on a lot of situations. I’ve been recycling my time and income for the past decade pushing forward and constantly investing in the means to make new paintings and music, unsure of an audience or any promise of return. I like to challenge myself to always follow inspiration in whatever form it takes and just recently it’s starting to pay off a bit.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work allows me the freedom to experiment and keep coming up with new formulas for making and looking at painting. Generally speaking I use watercolor and photographic imagery together on canvas, some of which are very large format. I think if anything sets me apart, it’s a 3-Dimensional laugh at being rainbow-body hopeful with a unique lens of humor. The idea that thinly veiled variations of reality and time is sort of what I’ve been looking at in my work. Currently I’m most excited about working with Acne Studios for the 2021 spring/summer women’s collection. It will be fun to see in stores when Covid magically disappears next year because we’ve all been on our best behavior. I got to where I am professionally by spending all my time, money, and emotional reserves making art and believing in it even if I didn’t know where it was going. One thing I know for sure is it mostly comes from lots of support and conversation with good friends and artists alike that can articulate around the highly specific problems that arise in trying to make objects and also pay rent to live. Lessons I’ve learned along the way is that you truly never know what lies ahead. I never expected this year to go the way it has for my career, but if there’s a takeaway from my story it would be that it’s ok to be yourself. If you think no one understands you or your work, you just haven’t met the people that do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hmm I’m mostly on the Eastside, so for a week definitely Beelman’s in DTLA, Elf Cafe and El Prado in Echo Park, My Dung Sandwich Shop in Chinatown, and Casita Del Campo in Silverlake… Probably see some art around the city and do some park beers. It’s nice to find new places with people from out of town too.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to Samantha Rosenwald and Groovy, Martin Weiland, Elijah Funk, James McDevvitt-Stredney with No Place Gallery, Utah Snyder, and the team at Acne Studios for their extra support in this wacky year.