1xRun Thru Interview
Employee of the Month by Ben Frost
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece.
Ben Frost: We’re always pressured to fit into society – to be a good citizen, a good person – or the ‘employee of the month’ and this is something I often wonder about. I’ve never really had a real ‘job’, so the concept of someone giving you an award/trophy/certificate etc for your monthly work performance is as fascinating as it is ridiculous. Being an ‘ideal’ member of society is relative and this work reflects the attractive and repulsive elements of society.
The central lady is giddy in her own self-worth as the world around her swirls into dystopia. Overweight superheroes, birds shitting small children, blood-sucking Disney mascots, and ghoulish hands that reach from beyond the grave – trying to be noticed above the continuous Family Guy television fuzz.
1xRun: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had?
Ben Frost: This artwork was one of four large pieces that I produced for the exhibition ‘Company of Thieves’ at Inner State Gallery in Detroit in 2013. I haven’t really painted in this detailed ‘mash-up’ style for a while, so it was good to get back into. I enjoy making these types of paintings, because they’re very ‘organic’ in that I don’t necessarily have any specific idea where it’s going until it’s nearly complete. The characters and elements just kind of appear and interact between themselves to define hidden and subliminal ideas.
1xRUN: What materials were used to create this piece with?
Ben Frost: This piece is all hand-painted acrylic with some aerosol elements. I also like to use ball point pen and pencils to scratch out people’s eyes.
1xRun: When was the piece created and how long did it take to complete?
Ben Frost: I painted this piece in late 2013 at my studio in Montreal, Canada. It’s all hand painted and took about 2 weeks to finish on and off.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Ben Frost: I’ve used the rainbow/castle backdrop in a few paintings before – and I often use that as my starting point because of how it relates to the concept of a ‘quest’. We’re all searching for something and having that as the anchor relates the journey of the other elements towards that goal. My paintings are very organic in the sense that a lot of the ideas I have are created when I’m sourcing the imagery – thinking about what might go with what in the earliest stages – and then the elements just kind of fall together when I go to paint them all. I like the idea that someone could be called ‘Employee of the Month’ despite their own shortcomings as a member of the consumerist, corporate death-machine.