At Least One Thing You Should Never Do With A Harpoon Gun

Ben performs live

At Least One Thing You Should Never Do With A Harpoon Gun

at the inaugural launch of London’s new Perfect Liars Club, held at The Book Club, on February 20th, 2018.

[Note: Video dark-lit due to low stage lighting. Audio may need to be turned up.]

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Happy New Year 2018!

Happy New Year!

All the best from,

Ben

Merry Christmas!

Best wishes

to you and yours for the holidays!

– from Ben

A Spooky Tale from Ben

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Trick or TREAT:

Ben tells a spooky tale live at the

East Dulwich Literary Festival 2017.

 

Ben’s Art Book 1 – Progress Report!

A project that I thought would take a week has taken several months – what with so many other distractions in my life – but we are nearly there! And the book is looking goooooood! I’m optimistically estimating that I’m 85% of the way to the yearned for (by me) release day.

A fascinating few specs…

My 94 illustrations have been split into ocean- and land-themed images (some pictures could have landed in either pile). Book One will be about the ocean.

I’ve checked the scans (300 dpi), and cleaned, resized and optimized the images. Half the scans for Book One (title reveal coming soon!) are now in the Word document that will soon become a…book. The portrait:landscape ratio is about 70:30. The text that accompanies the pictures (text on left, image opposite) just needs final editing and is comprised of (hopefully) interesting facts and personal experiences.

Most of the illustrations are traditional dark(er) images on white paper but (what I like to call my) Twilight Worlds series are white/grey images on black paper for a powerful and spooky effect.

How long does one drawing take?

I’m often asked how long a picture takes me. When I started this project, it’s fair to say I couldn’t draw – at all. Any skills I’d developed in my youth had long since evaporated through decades of non-use. But I didn’t realise this..

I embarked enthusiastically on the first picture and was horrified when, after a few hours, it bore no relationship to the image I had in my head. So, I tried again…and again… Some of the earlier pictures took many attempts before I was reasonably satisfied. Dozens of completed illustrations were discarded when finished and typically, each iteration would represent twenty or thirty hours work.

The reason they took so long is I work very, very slowly: planning, visualising, sketching, outlining, amending, filling, contrasting, completing. Revisiting short-term. Revisiting medium-term. Then, over the coming months and even years, I’d look again and find myself dissatisfied with this or that detail – and go back to work on it.

A 100 hours work per picture

I think it’s fair to say that many of the more complex pictures each represent maybe 100 hours of work…and the entire collection required several years of my time. More than a decade. But it’s nearly done! I’m looking forward to your thoughts on the collection when it is released.

Sign up to be the first to know when it’s released. Or keep an eye on the blog for updates. It’ll be announced here soon…

Turns out I’m British too…

Although I’m American, by birth and by blood, I’m also something else too: my mother was English.

I recently applied for a British passport – and was approved! Joint citizenship for Americans is now allowed, so I can carry both. It means, in a few weeks, a second passport will be winging it’s way to me. I’ll be the bearer of not one passport, but two!

How did this happen? After filling in many forms and providing much data to show 1) I am me, and 2) I am related to my mother, I was granted approval to ‘naturalise’ as a British citizen. Yesterday, I attended the all-important naturalisation ceremony to receive a shiny new paper, confirming the same.

It was a lovely event, with a prominent citizen from my locality addressing and welcoming us all, cups of tea and biscuits afterwards, and a view over a verdant park. A quiet day to reflect.

Has this changed me at all? In a bureaucratic sense, possibly. Both halves of me are now recognised by relevant bureaucratic powers.

And yet fundamentally, there is no change. I am who I am, one man from two sides of a very large pond. I savour cool Jack Daniels as deeply as a room-temperature Glenmorangie. I drift away to Hotel California as effortlessly as I do to Stairway to Heaven.  And I enjoy Hemingway and Proulx, as much as I admire Austen and Conan Doyle.

These halves of me – they’ve been here all along.

Receiving my British Citizenship Certificate from Lady Arnold

 

 

 

Business or Casual?

I have signed up as a supporting artist (formerly known as a (lowly) extra) and need to post more photos on my casting agency profile page that will get me noticed!

Why Choose a Profile Pic?

The agency says my profile pics need to include formal, sporty, business or casual choices to make sure I get put forward for the greatest range of roles.

Business or casual—what’s best?

The Suit

A classic British pinstripe in dark grey squeezes into a dark back corner of my closet.

Old fashioned cut but classy, I like to think. A suit that says: This guy is serious…knows his stuff. Which was important when my Herculean efforts made no discernable impact on the world of finance.

And I have a black one, (hiding in a plastic clothes bag, sprinkled with mothballs), for the meetings I used to hate: when I had to play the gun-slinger. The tough guy… fortunately, I only wore that one occasionally.

There’s one more suit, however, that I prefer above all others. Light-weight, flexible, durable, well ventilated… A suit that’s been loyal and served duty in several shining corners of the world.

And it’s in my favourite colour too! If the agency lets me sneak this photo in… well, with the addition of a pair of flip-flopswhat better work conditions could one possibly hope for?

Just Jeans

But I’m a writer and artist now. Nothing beats jeans (501s in blue, black or tan) and a fleece. I feel more authentic in these. In fact I always did.

Which reminds me: my denim shirt (an obligatory component in the writer’s wardrobe) is falling to bits. Time for a new one.

Business or Casual?

What do you feel most comfortable in?

Please help me choose which is best? My new career depends on it!