Ben Willis was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved to Arizona to pursue his Master’s of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing from the Herberger Institute for Design an the Arts, School of Art at Arizona State University.
Professionally Willis is a Painting and Drawing Adjunct Faculty at Phoenix College and Prepartor at Phoenix Art Museum.
Ben’s work has been exhibited internationally and across the United States. In 2014 he was awarded a Contemporary Forum Artist Grant and his work was recently published via International Contemporary Artists (Vol. 10), Figure 50 (Season 2), and Studio Visit Magazine (Vol. 24).
In graduate school, I was largely interested in oil painting and created a series of portraits that identified the community of artists who shaped my experience in the M.F.A. program.
Since then I had to adapt to working full time and managing a studio practice. I grew tired of trying to render form and wanted to explore more of what I had learned about color relationships, layering, composition, and texture.
The pattern paintings I make now derive from concepts of optical art. In contrast, my use of materials has allowed me to go beyond creating visual depth, adding a third dimension suspending paint, iridescent pigment, and glitter in many layers of resin.
My patterns do not just end in paint. Their repetitive nature has provided a fluid outlet for collage, digital, mixed media, and installation in my work.
All images courtesy of Ben Willis