Ben Levy’s work certainly had more of a shock effect at the Other Art Fair than the majority of art on show. Building on the often media-obsessed culture of this country he uses famous faces from the press to comment upon everyday subjects. Although humorous in their nature, Tony Blair as Captain America, the Kray Twins as Batman and Robin, Levy deals with serious topics of politics, race and sexuality in his work.
The images themselves are built from a mixture of collage and skilled drawing, with bursts of colour and dripping paint that look like graffiti. He describes his art on his website as ‘detailed portrait painting with a modern/street art twist’. Perhaps this signifier of a short-lived art form is meant to mirror the short-lived nature of some of the shock stories found in the papers. To take that further the use of a graffiti style considered by some as ‘vandalism’ could be equated to the way that the lives of celebrities are defaced by the press. After that speculation, I would like to add that his portraits are very good.
Levy was very nice to chat to at the fair. Having brought his own chair and found the location of the nearest bar he was far more prepared than other nearby artists for what was to be, no doubt, a long evening at the Private Opening discussing his work with interested viewers.
To learn more about the work of Ben Levy visit his website at http://www.benlevyart.com/Ben_Levy/HOME.html.