Time Out Singapore: Ben Frost

Australian artist Ben Frost seems to trade on controversy – his 12-metre painting ‘Where Do You Want To Go Today?’ was deemed so inappropriate that the Sydney police ordered it to be removed. His newest exhibition, ‘The Perfect Drug’ – which consists of 45 paintings done on various fast food and other boxes – is up at Kult Gallery this month; Gwen Pew picks his brains for nine things you’d want to know about him.

Australian visual artist Ben Frost.

Australian visual artist Ben Frost.

8 Mar 2013: 

1

He first got into art by copying illustrations: ‘I spent a lot of time re-drawing superheroes from comic books… I’ve switched mostly to porn images now, but this process of “copying” or “appropriation” is still a big part of my work.’

2

To Frost, balance is everything in art: ‘It’s about juxtaposing found images and objects to illustrate ideas in new and confronting ways.’

3

His most controversial work to date is probably his 2010 project ‘Ben Frost is Dead’, in which he faked his own death: ‘A lot of people thought I was actually dead – even my mum cried – but I think it’s healthy to kill yourself off every so often.’

4

His new show is about consumer culture: ‘I’m living in Canada at the moment and travel through the US a lot, so I’m immersed in an environment of billboards and fast food consumers… I enjoy exploring the trappings of consumer culture – as much as I’m repulsed by it.’

5

He collected empty boxes and packaging from convenience stores for ‘The Perfect Drug’: ‘I get strange looks in the supermarket when they see me inspecting Corn Flakes boxes for folds and tears.’

6

One of his favourite works from the current show is ‘Breakfast Undead’: ‘[It] shows Dracula howling at the Kellogg’s logo with one of his female victims in his arms. It’s kind of how I feel most mornings…’

7

His creative process is organic: ‘More often than not, the most resonant compilations arrive by accident, so it’s very much a process of being aware and drawing out the meanings as they appear.’

8

He’s a dog lover: ‘When I was a child, I was obsessed with French poodles, so much so that I convinced my second grade teacher that I owned one. But I didn’t.’

9

If he weren’t an artist… ‘I’d no doubt be in jail.’

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