We caught up with Ben Gore in the UK lockdown.
22/ May/ 2020
How are you doing now?
I’m doing ok. As with everyone, the lockdown is weighing on me and I miss family and friends, but I’ve managed to keep myself busy with lots of little projects.
Whats lockdown like for you?
I’m used to working from home but it has been quite intense to be permanently holed up. I’ve maintained a rough structure of work and relaxation but I’ve also been rapidly cycling through moods so one day I’ll be painting for 5 hours happy as larry and the next I’ll be a motionless husk on the sofa.
Are you able to work/ where is your studio normally? What's your current set up.
I work from home so i’m lucky that I can keep making things. I just work from a desk in my sitting room with a computer and I’ve got a dedicated art cupboard where I hide all my materials and stock for my online shop. I’ve got a little patio out back that I can do messier work on, but most of the time I’m flinging lead or paint around in dirty tracksuit bottoms at my desk.
What projects are you working on now?
I’ve got a few things in the pipeline at the moment. I’m working on two new books that I hope to be done by the end of Summer. Firstly, theres the Pop Culture Cookbook. It’s an illustrated cookbook featuring famous foods from pop culture. Think Paddington’s Marmalade or The Pie from American Pie.I’m writing and illustrating the book, alongside a selection of great emerging illustrators from around the world. Secondly, I’m working on The Grime Activity Book Remix. I put together a Grime themed activity book a few years ago and I’m updating it with all new illustrations to colour in, puzzles, crosswords, word searches and more. Those are the two big guns but I’m always working on smaller projects like bootleg toys, and I’m planning some new clothing merch for Blue Monday Press too.
Is lock down / coronavirus having an influence on your work?
Yeah, I’d say it probably is. With the Vitamin Sea pieces, I was very much thinking about a post human world and what happens when nature reclaims what we made. I’ve also been reading a lot of far future sci fi, like Children of Time, which fed into that too. I tend to think in extremes so I’ve been thinking about that, then on the other hand, whats something I could that would make someone laugh or smile. I put together a few action figures of queens from Drag Race and that was just pure fun to make and share.
Which artists/ instagram accounts are you most addicted to now?
I’m just addicted to feeding myself with images perpetually. Simon Hanselmann has been doing an ongoing web comic on their instagram with their characters Megg, Mogg, and Owl living through quarantine. That’s been updated almost daily and it’s been great. Some others I could recommend would be @miles_art @retroscifiart @reweki @mcfetridge @danielarsham
What are you listening to/ reading/ watching when you can?
I’m currently reading Ken Liu’s short story collection The Paper Menagerie which I’m really enjoying. It’s lots of lovely little sci fi stories. I just saw Eric Andre’s Bad Trip film which is hilarious, and I would heavily recommend if you need a good chuckle.