A Pop Rebellion
Ben Levy is a north London based portrait/figurative artist. People are describing Ben's work as pop art with a rebellious twist. He conveys everyday issues that have become fashionable through the press.
The general public love a story so Ben tries to capture political, racial, sexual and many other topics in a comic like scenario using famous faces well known throughout society.His work is extremely quirky and comical. A real street artist, he did not go to art college, he developed his craft and formed his views and beliefs growing up a blue collar environment.
He says: “When you look at many of the galleries in London nowadays you almost know what your going to get before you walk in, it’s becoming very repetitive, same artist doing very similar work and although technically well executed, there is no real artist message!”
In a world where celebrity is the new religion and sensationalized press the backbone of information Ben’s work reflects his views on modern society.
Making statements on political, racial, sexual and other global topics, Ben’s works range from famous faces in unorthodox scenarios to very outspoken works pointing his finger at corporate establishments.
Beginning his career as an artist in 2010, London based Ben Levy took a leap of faith and gave up his nine-to-five to follow his passion. After creating artworks in his studio in the evenings and at weekends, he had his first show at “Nowhere North” with such success that it shortly led to follow up shows at The Other Art Fair in 2011 and twice in 2012.
Developing his craft through his own practice having shunned traditional academia for real world experience. Growing up in a blue collar environment he explored his views and beliefs through his art although also found himself at odds with the art world institution:
“My feelings changed a lot when I started painting, I started seeing objects, people and art in general in a different light. I found myself struggling to relate to the artists and the work I saw in galleries. I didn’t want art to be my day job, I wanted it to play a big part in my life, reflect on my interests, my home life and most importantly my family. I decided to paint things that I relate to, whether it be a political view or just something that makes me laugh.
My ideas evolve from my interests, they must captivate and motivate me, I simply loose concentration when painting something I’m not interested in so I choose not too.”
As a portrait painter, Ben’s ideas often come from the media, and specifically our ever-growing captivation and endless appetite for celebrity culture and the everyday issues that become fashionable through the press.
Having painted for A list celebrity’s such as Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg, Sofia Vergara, Jordi Molla, joe manganiello and Tyson Beckford to name a few Ben has built up a clientele of the rich and famous to match his artwork.
With only a limited number of works produced every year Ben paints only what he can relate too, he believes in quality rather then quantity, his work has become harder and harder to come across each year.
In a world where celebrity is the new religion and sensationalised press the backbone of information, Ben’s work reflects his views on modern society. Making statements on political, racial, sexual and other global topics, His work ranges from famous faces in unorthodox scenarios to outspoken pieces pointing the finger at corporate establishments.
Portraits are diverse. Supermodels are shown in simple attractive editorial styles. Iconic rock stars, immediately recognisable, satisfy that ultimate commercial desire. Biafran starving children display exploitative global brands and an honest display of political figures show up the unattractive and faux-heroic light within which they envisage themselves.
A recent body of work for Miami Basel focuses on Corporate wealth, jokingly entitled ‘I’m NOT Lovin’ It’ Ben uses uncomfortable images of starving children displaying exploitative global brands to get his message across, some of which he collaborated with his 5 year old daughter Florence to emphasise the opportunity our children are given on a day to day basis, opportunity that unfortunately the subjects in the paintings probably never will.
Part of the show also featured a Ferrari covered in Graffiti, a form of art once considered illegal now one of the most collectable. With words such as power, greed, wealth, love and envy the car along with the paintings helped to show the huge difference between wealth and real poverty.
Not only is his work executed with an extreme degree of technique and precision, capturing the identity and the spirit of his subject, but the crossover with the political agenda creates a wonderful unease.
“I believe that most of my work is unfinished and I love that, it seems corrupt to sell artwork that isn’t complete and I think that says a lot about the ideas behind my work.
Corruption seems to be a very fashionable trait nowadays.”
Galleries and exhibitions...
- Nowhere north gallery (London) 2008, Group show.
- Nowhere north gallery (London) 2009, Knucklehead T-shirt launch.
- Nowhere north gallery (London) 2009, 'Boat race' solo show.
- Jealous Gallery (London) 2009
- Nowhere north gallery (London) 2010, 'Media' solo show.
- Strand gallery (London) 2010, fashionable disaster' solo show.
- Ligne Roset (London) 2010-2012.
- The Other art fair (London) 2011.
- Debut Contemporary gallery (London) 2011- ongoing
- The Other art fair (London) May 2012.
- 'Arts for India' launch at 'The Guggenheim' (New York) 2012.
- The Other art fair (London) Nov 2012.
- 'The Wellington' (London) 2012.
- Curious duke 2013
- Four20 2013
- Grand designs London 2013
- Wetfishcafe cafe London 2013
- Proud galleries (RAW) 2013
- Monsters of art 2013
- Cass art 2013
- Debut contemporary group show 2014
- Floodlight Foundation,
- Arts for India.
- Maison Twenty Fashion,
- Harvey Nicks (London)
- Browns (London)
- Harrods (London). 2012 - ongoing
- Harvey Nicks Dubai
- Toms Eyewear, 2012,
- Toms Footwear, 2012,
- Uffizi gallery 2012,
- Cirque du soir, 2013
- Real Artistic people clothing. 2013 - ongoing
- The Shape Strategic Marketing & Branding. 2013
- RAW art. 2013
- Browns 2013 (live painting)
- Maison 20 pop up shops
- AMAKA pop up boutique, westfields. 2013
- The Review magazine 2013
- Short list mag 2012
- Notion magazine 2013
- 55 pages magazine
- The huffington post 2014
- Mix mag 2014
- Tatler 2014