Ben Slow’s solo exhibition ‘A line is drawn’ features new original works, created and re-created over the past year. The title signifies the artist’s own battle with his practice, breaking away from the work he has become comfortable and synonymous with, and creating truly expressive works, which have evolved through Slow’s persistence and dedication in pushing himself outside of his comfort zone.
Slow quickly became a well-known name in the art world thanks to his large-scale and commanding black and white murals across London. Being continuously fascinated and inspired by chance meetings of colourful characters, his street work focused on celebrating local personalities, immortalising them in the locations they're closely connected with.
Made up of images personally collected over the past few years, this new body of work shows a move in direction for the artist. The show is heavily influenced from Ben’s personal battle with anxiety and OCD, in which Slow has never before engaged in his practice. Moving away from the conventional portraits he was previously known for creating, here the paintings hang between the abstract and formed. Slow lets the way he feels on a daily basis affect the paintings. The viewer can physically see the mood the artist is in, the level of anxiety he is feeling by the marks he makes; literally tearing through the paper at times.
Pushing the paper to the point where it hangs on the verge of being completed and almost destroyed; it has become a therapeutic way to channel his health problems. However, Slow still holds back a little, aware that he is creating something to be looked at and enjoyed, seeking to strike a balance between order and chaos. ‘A line is drawn’ will showcase this honest new body of work for the first time to the public and cements an important time in this young artists career. The beautiful portraits, on paper and wood, will sit alongside an exclusive new hand-finished edition, printed in Jealous Print Studios.
Initially coming from a fine art background, Ben Slow graduated from UCA, Canterbury in 2006. However, rather than inspire him, the course left him very disillusioned with the art world and his options as a painter. After graduating, Ben moved to London and embarked on a regular 9 to 5 lifestyle, something that he became dissatisfied with very quickly. Inspired by the wealth of street art that he was seeing in London, he set about starting to paint again, desperate for a more creative outlet. After putting some of his work out on the internet and gaining some very positive feedback he was commissioned to put a team together to produce a mural at The Royal Albert Hall. This was his first exposure to painting on a large-scale and it gave him the confidence to start the large street pieces that you can see around the world today. There is an obvious narrative that comes through in Ben’s street work, they tell a meaningful story of their subjects, they aren’t just pretty portraits, they are “people that deserve to be immortalised” as Ben would say.
This started to come about when a good friend of his passed away in 2010, a lively local to the Brick Lane area named Billy. Ben was given the perfect wall to paint a remembrance piece and it made him realise that he had much more interest in painting people who have a story to tell, painting pieces that have a direct link to where they are painted. It’s not just the street art that Ben is passionate about. His canvases give him a chance to experiment with a plethora of fine art styles and allow him to explore the more abstract side of his personality. Having already exhibited work in the UK, USA, France, Italy and Ibiza, Ben is well on his way to making a serious name for himself in both the street and fine art worlds. “I’m bringing fine art to the streets” and long may this continue.