Ben Summers is a British artist working between London and France. Due to his father’s military occupation, much of Summers’ childhood was spent in different locations including Malta, Belgium and Germany before eventually settling outside of Bath in the west of England. These early experiences have shaped much of the foundation for Ben’s work and the continuous thread of documenting people within shifting cultural landscapes. Guided subsequently by a childhood fascination with street art and the 1948-51 European Avant Garde movement, the CoBrA group. Graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2003, Ben went onto work in arts education, before a career in music promotions and commercial illustration. Summers currently lives and works in North London and in recent months, has collaborated widely with respected arts institutions and in group exhibitions. He is an aspiring curator and art entrepreneur with work currently held in private collections in Ghana, UK, France and the US.
“The wider narrative of my practice channels a prevailing fascination in documenting collective human identity in relation to ancestry and a breaking down of social constructs. An anthropological foundation, formed from personal experience is a thread in the work, which seeks to question our innate relationship in the present day. My practice explores the earnestness of our personal stories, whilst reflecting on my own heritage. Prevailing topics of communication and disquiet around social issues are consistently central”
The developing body of figurative work, emerges from an increasingly expansive practice, for which the boundless possibilities of painting remain a foundation. They have begun through conversations and time shared with friends, strangers and people passing through and existing in mostly shifting environments. Revered centerpieces and crowds, often accompanied by imaginary characters, cinematic references and childlike symbolism bestow a fluctuating and layered approach to artistic production. The works are developed from an increasingly methodical, inquisitive and collagic system of gathering subject matter sourced from live sketches, candid photos and footage.