Blog: Artist Focus | Studio Interview with Ben Broadbent
We have recently introduced the bronze figurative sculpture work of artist Ben Broadbent to the gallery and have an insightful interview with him this week which perfectly highlights the influences behind his thought-provoking work.
Describe your work in three (ish) words:
Figures of strength and depth
What draws you to creating in your chosen medium?
Bronze is a wonderful material. The casting process is all fire and brimstone, alchemy and ritual, brutal force and also great delicacy. It’s as though the sculpture goes through a rite of passage and what emerges at the other end is stronger for the experience. A lot like life! The subjects of my sculptures have gone through, or are in the midst of, one of these life changing events and they too will emerge the stronger for it.
Does the area in which you live or any other areas influence your work?
Not especially. I carry these figures around in my head in a vivid mental landscape of their own. I now live in a more urban area than I’m used to so perhaps I’m subconsciously effected by that. I think all my characters would benefit from a stroll in the country!
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Feats of great mental strength. The underdog. The indomitable human. Hope against hope.
Tumultuous moments in the lives of people I know or people in the public eye and often myself. Often a thrown away sentence can start an idea turning in my head and I’ve come to find that sculpture is the only way to get it out!
Do you listen to any favourite music, radio or podcasts while working in the studio?
Yes. All of the above. I usual have several audio books on the go as well. I’m like a narrative distillery!
The podcasts I like are; Adam Buxton for chat, Russell Brand's ‘under the skin’ for thinking, ‘sculpture vulture’, ‘talk art’ and John Dalton’s 'gently does it’ for art stuff.
If you could invite three artists or art influencers (living or deceased) to dinner who would they be?
As I write it is early 2021 in the midst of Lock down #3 and frankly, I’d be grateful for a dinner party with anybody! In this case, I’ll overlook the old masters in favour of a more upbeat gathering and choose, Grayson Perry, Noel Fielding and Terry Pratchett.
Grayson has done more than most to democratise the art world and has a humble genius that I admire. Noel is a dynamo of obscure creativity and blurs the boundary between art, comedy, music and pop culture (and he can bring cake!). The Late great Terry Pratchett because I grew up on fantasy via Tolkien and the mythologies. He took the tired tropes of the fantasy world and breathed life, humour and philosophy into them.
What drew you to exhibit at the Watergate Street Gallery – do you have a criteria for choosing the galleries where you would like to show your work?
I mentioned democratising the art world earlier because I think art should be available to everybody. A gallery should be a friendly welcoming place and all too many are stuffy and intimidating. The Watergate Street Gallery is one of the best with courses and classes and various inclusive events. They are turning the gallery into a social hub which is just fantastic and something I’m proud to become a part off. I also happen to love Chester. I got my degree in Wrexham and Chester was always a favourite haunt. Its great to have an excuse to come back again!
What are you most excited about artistically in 2021?
The only way is up really in 2021! I’m working with some brilliant galleries, I have collaborations in mind, some shows and courses. Lots of ideas and plans, sculptures crying out to be made. Bring it on!