Coming soon: Art Books by Ben

One night in London…

One evening while looking out of my office window over the rooftops of London, I realised that while I am passionate about spinning words into tales… I also really enjoy art. I missed drawing the black and white seascapes and fantastical universes I began to create many years ago, initially for my children.

With a portfolio stretching back fifteen years, many requests, and lucky enough to have attracted thousands of Facebook “likes”, I’ve decided to put my art into two books.

What kind of books?

The first will be ocean-themed (the formatting is already well advanced), the second land-based. My art is detailed black and white magical realism, interspersed with trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye). Often I disguise a message or story in my imagery.

What I think about when I think about art…

I enjoy taking existing animals and plants and reproducing them with accuracy down to the diameter of a hair follicle or stem texture of a mature sporophyte. But as I believe in parallel worlds (or multiverses—think quantum physics), I also like to modify my flora and fauna, sometimes minutely, sometimes big time, while retaining apparent authenticity. It’s up to the viewer to spot where I’ve accelerated evolution or wandered into a shadowy recess of my imagination.

How many pictures?

Each book will have about 55 illustrations. On the opposing pages, I’ll include a few (hopefully) interesting facts about the subject matter; my personal experiences; perhaps a few lines about what I was trying to achieve with that picture.

For the originals, I worked exclusively by hand and eye—no computer trickery here! But I’ll be adding a few “digitally doubled” images—images reflected down a central axis—at the end of both books. Just for fun.

When?

The first book is already 75% formatted. If the Great Crested Lemur, unknown in Mad-agascar but commonplace in Sane-agascar (Editor: Ben, I can’t believe you wrote that :-/ ) would just stop hopping around for five minutes and let me finish the seascape behind it, I’d be able to wrap this up soon and have the first book up on Amazon in a few weeks.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the trompe l’oeil and the hidden stories you might see in these works…

 

Alysia Seymour Reviews Something in the Air

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Alysia Seymour has posted a review of Something in the Air on her blog.

Something in the Air is a sweet and emotional read with an unexpected ending that…pulls at the heart-strings”

“Ben Starling does an impeccable job”

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A Poem: POM – Book Your Australian Holiday!

POM – BOOK YOUR AUSTRALIAN HOLIDAY!

Who’d wanna be a wallabeee?

I wish I knew, said the kangarooo.

I love this land, chirped the cuddly possum,

Yawning, stretching on a bed of blossom.

So Pom, if you need a getaway,

Come to Oz and play for a month and a day.

Let’s meet the locals, who’ll make your stay

A Dame Edna-tastic holiday!

 

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Let’s start in Sydney, our biggest city,

Where the girls are ripped and the Bruces gritty.

A swim off Bondi late at night?

Great white sharks are friendly, right?

Tired of beer, mate? Try our great cider,

Then play dare by kissing a funnel web spider.

In search of a unique culinary dish?

Have you tried raw box jellyfish?

They drift In search of the mankini-ed swimmer,

Who they tickle all over, in time for dinner.

 

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A real Ozzie swills Fosters from a gallon syphon,

While wrestling his twenty-foot amethystine python.

Did you know a drop of wolf spider’s venom

Can amuse fifty lawyers at their annual plenum?

 

Up in Queensland, where the sun’s always yellow,

You may meet a charmingly laid-back fellow:

So be sure to stomp on that buried stingray…

It’ll say thanks with its tail—and make your day!

Then check that travel insurance clause

In case a redback crawls in your drawers.

In the rainforest? That’s where the amiable cassowary,

Rushes over to greet the sun-stroked unwary.

 

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When driving north, on the heat-baked roads,

You can count the two billion cane toads.

Here’s a ripper sport: tug a Taipan’s tail,

It’ll lick your fingers without fail!

Or swim a river with a salty croc,

Whose playful death-roll’s sure to rock.

Then there’s the stonefish, beneath the sand,

They say its venom’s super bland.

Want a buddy with Usain Bolt’s speed?

Introducing our giant centipede!

 

In the coral garden you’ll find a pet

With a beak as blunt as your rusty Gillette.

Known as the blue-ringed octopussy,

Squeeze his head hard to prove you’re no wussy.

Remember that cone shell you found on the beach?

Hold it tight—it’ll do strange things to your speech.

Tie a yellow-bellied sea-snake in a knot?

Try it. You’ll win Gold for projecting snot.

Then end your day with a fun party trick:

Play a game of spot the paralysis tick!

 

Dingo, wombat, bull ant, brumby,

Australia’s wildlife won’t leave you grumbly!

They’re here to greet you, make you feel special,

Cos our hospitals are empty and the examinations rectal.

So people: book your flights, plan your vacations,

But first…write your wills and warn your relations.

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Ben Live – Upstairs at the Ritzy, London

Ben live – storytelling at Upstairs at the Ritzy, London, UK, September 19th, 2016.

Ben Live at The Torriano, London

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Ben – Live storytelling at The Torriano, London, UK, September 14th, 2016.

 

Ben Live at the Hackney Picturehouse, London

Ben – live storytelling at Hackney Picturehouse, London, UK, September 12th, 2016.

Olivia Teese Interviews Ben

Ben in cafeOlivia Teese has interviewed Ben. An Interview with Ben Starling is now live!

In this interview, Olivia talks to Ben about what it’s like to be a dad; his muse, a Great Dane named Edington; and about his newly released novel, Something in the Water, available now on Amazon…

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