Benjamin Phillips is an artist who uses everything from paint brushes to power tools to create large-scale, mixed-media collages on handmade wooden panels. Phillips, a BA Fine Art (with Honours) graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, in developing his own unique creative techniques, is able to marry his history - as the son of a master craftsman, oil painter and driftwood sculptor - with his interest in contemporary urban landscapes.
The two works in the auction Attribution and Insertion are part of the artist’s ‘Commodity Culture’ series where he works with found objects and street imagery such as fly posters and adverts from the streets of London, to document the culture, politics and society of today.
Spending days, searching, collecting and sourcing material around the city, the artist returns to his North London studio and creates abstract collages layered from the material he has found. The collages are built from the visual stories he has gathered from around the capital and, in repurposing imagery targeted towards the public for his own aesthetic, he explores the relationship between materiality, our urban landscapes and contemporary society.
Like the layers that make up the human consciousness, the layers of his work include posters, flyers, graffiti, and other aspects of urban archaeology that comprise the city’s psyche of today. Each time adding their own commentary on today’s society: a corner of a music poster, an advert for the latest app, a public announcement are all snapshots of life today.
The images he creates and uses are built from years of accrued printed matter, as a result Phillip’s work combines many cultures and many stories through the layers of images. As the artists reflects “it calls to mind London’s sensory overload of colours, noises, and smells and allowing viewers to determine the works’ dynamic meaning and social impact for themselves.”
Benjamin Phillips is also including another collage, Attribution, in the auction and you can learn more about his approach to collage in our interview with him here.