Benjamin Murphy is a visual artist who creates darkly alluring artworks using the esoteric medium of electrical tape.
His works are often un-posed portraits of a solitary figure situated within their homes, going about their daily lives with no concern for the viewers gaze. The backgrounds contain many elements that allude to hidden meanings, and he describes the still-lifes as a “zoomed-out vanitas”.
His works are ethereal and vague in what is depicted, often containing seemingly contradictory elements that combined with the use of perspective and the eyeless figures, creates a discordant feeling in the viewer. Ben has created 2 cards for our stand at Moniker Fair. AoaPC caught up with Ben ahead of the fair
For those who aren’t familiar with you can you tell us about yourself and what you do?
I'm an artist from originally from Yorkshire but now living in London. I create artworks using black electrical tape and a scalpel.
How and why did you decide to use tape as your main medium of creating your artwork?
t happened naturally, as odd as that sounds. I discovered it when I was doing an MA in contemporary fine art a few years ago. My masters was very theory-based and I needed an outlet that was more creative and less logical.
I started sneaking around my university at night drawing on the walls and it just led on from there.
It's a really unusual medium and in the difficulty it presents I am forced to find new ways of doing things. There are no books that can teach you how to draw with tape, and I like having to figure things out for myself.
You are also known for doing street art collaborations. Can you tell about your most memorable collaboration?
My most memorable collaboration was a show I did with Hayden Kays. I was round at his studio once complaining about a show of seen that was more of a shop than a gallery, and was clearly done purely out of a love of money. I said how amazing would it be if someone did a show and gave all of the work away at the end of it, to which he replied "Let's do it then".
We did it, and it was the most fun I've ever had at a show. Around 500 people turned up and the atmosphere was electric. Pistonhead gave us hundreds of beers and we had a huge party.
You’ve just started making jewellery – what prompted you to do that and can we expect more from you?
I don't want people to ever be able to predict what I'm going to do next. There seems to be a very set formula as to how an artist does things, and I don't want to stick to it. I decided releasing a limited edition ring was much more interesting than another print release and it seems people agreed as they sold out pretty quickly. I probably will do a couple more at some point, but beforehand I have some other pretty exciting things up my sleeve...
You’ve done 2 cards for AoaPC’s stand at Moniker Art Fair can you tell us about them?
I drew them on a train with a fountain pen I've had for fifteen years. I don’t remember who they are drawings of now unfortunately. I titled them Future Resale Opportunity #2 and #3 because I find myself hilarious.
Will you be at Moniker Art Fair
Sadly not in person, but I'm exhibiting there with a few galleries. I’m doing a three-person show with Max Zorn and No Curves, who are two other tape artists; the show is curated by Stick Together who are a Holland-based gallery. During the fair I will be in Berlin for another show with Max.
You have been involved with Art on a Postcard since it began in 2014 can you talk about how you came to be so closely involved and what various roles you’ve performed for the charity?
Stuart Waplington from Printspace asked if I’d donate an artwork to an auction and I gladly accepted the invitation. I think we should all do as much as we can for charity, in whatever way we are best suited to. By donating works I am able to raise much more money than I could ever donate myself, so it’s a no-brainer. It is also a really interesting project and every show attracts an amazing list of artists who want to be involved.
Over the years I have donated works, helped get other artists involved, hung shows, and interviewed artists for the website.
What have you got planned for the rest of 2016?
I’m showing new works at Moniker Art Fair, Well Hung Gallery, Apiary Studios, and an as yet top-secret Soho gallery. I’m also writing a lot, publishing through AfterNyne.
As well as that there’s the show in Berlin, the Art On A Postcard auction in November, and other things that I’ve inevitably forgotten.
Where can we find out more about you?
Instagram - @benjaminmurphy_
Twitter - @benjaminmurphy0