Ben Brough is an American painter and collage artist who was born in California and raised in Hawaii. Brough’s spectacular paintings capture the significance of his Pacific upbringing and his affinity for surfer/ skate culture.
The last time we spoke, you were really enthusiastic about your “Ctrl + Alt + Del” concept featured in “The Last of the Outside Enjoyers”. What lead you to explore this idea? What is its significance in relation to Good for Nothing?
When I was a kid growing up we played outside till dinner time. When we “liked” something we were either doing it or about to or trying to. These days kids play outside still but times are different, there is that digital element that stands in the way. You have that option to go outside and like something or stay inside and look at it on a screen. We all know what that button does and the concept behind this particular pieces kids playing outside flying a kite or whatever and the button has been pushed. The act of outside doing is disappearing.
Surfing has clearly played a huge role in your artwork from the beginning. Is there a surfer whose surfing style you feel is directly related to your artistic style?
Not really someone’s style, but I know I did like all the comics and art in the mags growing up. “Maynard and the Rat” and Bob Penuelas’ “Wilbur Kookmeyer” were a huge influence on me. I was and still am wrapped in surfing and skateboarding cultures. I loved getting surfer and thrasher mags looking at all the artwork on boards and in the articles… I still do.
I’ve always noticed “33” signed in the bottom right of each of your pieces. What is the history behind the number?
It’s my initials “BB”. When I sign my name the B’s looked like 3’s to me so I thought “33” looked cooler. I’ve been using it for over 20 years and it has become a very significant number to me, I see it everywhere. I think the number itself holds mystical powers.
What kind of movies did you grow up on as a kid? Any relationship between the films and the way your style has developed?
I grew up on a lot of movies… Classics from the 80’s and 90’s, comedy, drama, horror. I watched and still watch almost anything, I love cinema. It’s the same as music to me. I’ll watch the same movie over and over like a song. As far as my style, I’m not sure. I’ve always drawn the way I do but I definitely use content from films.
We can’t wait to have Ben Brough’s work on display in “Good for Nothing” at The LAB Miami starting December 7. Make sure to come by and check it out!