Ben Bannan knows a thing or two about how to carve a successful path in Western Australia’s arts industry having been selected as a Pulse Perspectives artist in 2014 and Hatched 2018. We recently chatted to Ben about his inspirational art journey.
What do you remember about your experience in the Pulse Perspectives exhibition? Did you take away new ideas, advice that has helped you get to where you are now?
I remember being really excited that both of my year 12 works had been accepted into the exhibition. At that time Year 12 Perspectives seemed like the biggest possible opportunity and more than anything I was excited that my work could be viewed by such a large audience. I think being in the exhibition helped give me some confidence to study contemporary art at a tertiary level.
What influenced you to go down the artistic path and who would you say has had the most profound impact on your choices so far?
Art was always something I did for joy and comfort growing up. From doing art for leisure to pursuing a career in the arts there have been different people and mentors along the way that have impacted me. I had very supportive art teachers in high school who nurtured my enthusiasm and then when I went to University, I had lecturers that really encouraged me to take risks. Most recently in February, I finished an internship at PICA with Eugenio Viola and Charlotte Hickson. This was a particularly formative experience for me, and they are both people who have helped expand the way I think about my arts practice and other ways of engaging with the arts professionally.
What advice can you give the artists in Pulse Perspectives this year in relation to how to forge ahead with their artistic career? What are the challenges they may face?
I’d really encourage anyone wanting to forge a career in the arts to engage with artist-run-spaces in Perth such as Cool Change Contemporary, Paper Mountain and The Lobby to name a few. These are the spaces where peers are showing, making and supporting local and national art and supporting them gives artists the opportunity to really engage with and become part of the arts community. Pursuing a career in the arts can often be really frustrating when you often encounter people who might not understand your choices or dismiss the industry. I think these encounters are important in challenging your goals, but they also become a lot easier to answer and justify when you feel like you’re making the decision alongside a large number of really amazing, talented and driven people.
You exhibited in Hatched 2018. How does this experience different to what you went through with Perspectives?
I exhibited in Hatched 2018. Graduating from art school was very different from graduating from year 12. High school focuses on developing two singular works or ‘final pieces’ that are meant to encapsulate everything you know and have learnt up until that point. My experience in art school was much more about developing ways of working and interests that could develop into bodies of work and sustain a practice. Therefore, my Hatched experience included much more of focus on working with PICA to customize my project for the exhibition in a way that best fitted my work within the constraints of a large group show. It was really my first experience with gallery practices and protocols and it was exciting to be a part of that process.
Any exciting news/projects you would like to share with our subscribers?
I currently have some work in an exhibition called looking now anyone here with Brent Harrison and Wade Taylor at Paper Mountain, as well as a collaborative work with Penny Coss at Mundaring Arts Centre as part of their 40th-anniversary exhibition Continuity and Change: Future.
Pulse Perspectives exhibition is showing at AGWA until 22 July.
Following your visit to Pulse Perspectives, vote for your favourite piece of work in the Act-Belong-Commit People’s Choice Award.