1xRun Thru Interview
Know Your Product by Ben Frost
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece.
Ben Frost: The central character is a skeleton. His head has been removed by an over-zealous woman who looks like she could be advertising fabric-softener instead of decapitation. Where his US flag skull once was, is now a myriad of safety rule signs a metaphor of broken morals, unfulfilled expectations and mental chaos of the human condition. Pikachu farts happily across the canvas as Mickey Mouse and Spider-man hang their heads in disbelief at the surrounding dystopia. With the immediacy of a gun-fight, the pointed pistol in the top-right points back at the central character and demands that we ‘know our product’ even though we are actually the ‘product’.
1xRun: Is this original still for sale?
Ben Frost: Yes this piece still available at 1xRun.
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: There’s a song called ‘Know Your Product’ by the 70’s Australian punk band The Saints and it got stuck in my head while I painted this piece. Like the song, the painting is about consumerism and has a pop-punk aesthetic that I’m always going for. I like to purposefully include different styles of painting into my ‘mash-up’ works, so besides the flat cartoon character fills, there’s a more photo-real aesthetic in the large grey lips and then this is mixed in with aerosol drips, a few little stencils and some layering effects.