"Shady Characters" artist profile: Ben Walker

Today, we have our fourth of seven artist profile/interviews thanks to Brian Colin as he sends us this exclusive sit-down with Ben Walker! We get to see some of his upcoming organic looking submissions for this show, as well as a glimpse into his studio, and his awesome taste in apparel :-)! This show is featuring a cast of 7 artists who include: Matthew Ryan Sharp, Project Detonate, H.C. Warner, Ben Walker, Tyler Coey, Brian Colin and Toby Stanger, and is set to go down on August 6, 2010 from 7pm - Midnight at Alcove Gallery in Atlanta. Take a minute, and get to know these artists as we ramp up for what promises to be a great show!

For those unfamiliar with you and your work can you tell us a little about yourself and your craft?
My name is Ben Walker, I live in Fair Oaks, California (a suburb of Sacramento). I paint “Weird Western” art: giant jackalopes, singing cowboys, etc. Mostly folks know me for my paintings of bears with guns. I’ve been doing this for about five years now. I also have my own line of T-shirts and I run an “alternative drawing studio” I call Pompsicle where we draw from live models in cool costumes.

With Shady Characters being the title of the show, how does your work represent this theme?
Well, lately I have been playing with some darker themes and aesthetics. The characters and situations I’m depicting are a bit shady. The things that lurk in the woods and go bump in the night can be a reflection of our own dreams and fears. It’s all in good fun for me though. I’m really not out to “disturb” anyone with my art.

Is this a theme that is regularly seen in your work?
Lately yes, I’m still keeping it within my own Old West slant, but lately I have been influenced by Black Forest aesthetics and comic book artists like Mike Mignola and Charles Burns. Plus when your friends with artists like Michael Slack, Kepi Ghoulie and Skinner, you start to see how fun it is to play on the dark side.

And lastly on the Shady Character front, do you see yourself as a Shady Character?
Hardly. I’ve always been relatively straight laced. I like library book sales and roller skating. I like trying new foods, long walks on the beach....kittens.

Do the subjects in your pieces represent you or anything that you are going through?
Not consciously. I do look back at some of the pieces I’ve done and think “Wow, that really is a metaphor for what I was going through at that time. I don’t think any of it is literal enough for any one else to see though. I think that’s a good thing. I like keeping things somewhat ambiguous. It lets people relate to what’s going on in my paintings on their own level.

What else do you have going on in the near future that you would like to let folks know about?
I mentioned I have my own line of T-shirts. Well, this July I will be launching my own label: Snake Oil Clothing. I will be exhibiting at San Diego Comic-con so I’m hoping to generate some buzz by officially launching this new brand there. Comic con booth # 4205 (hopefully by the time any one reads this a site will be up at-) SnakeOilClothing.com. I also have some projects coming up that I’m really excited about but I need to keep on the down-low for now. Definitely check in with me at (or after) Comic con!

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