Today we’d like to introduce you to Ben Crouse.
Ben, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I studied studio arts and creative writing at the University of Iowa in my hometown of Iowa City. While I was there, I fluctuated between visual art and writing until animation struck me as this perfect amalgamation of those two forms. Times I could’ve been studying were spent self-producing comics, illustrations, paintings, and animated shorts. I often collaborated on the animated shorts with my creative partner Jacob Sluka, together as “GROSSBUS”.
I was able to share my drawings and meet other animation artists across the country through Tumblr (which at the time in 2012 was popping off) and eventually, I was reached out to work for a kids’ animated TV show at Disney. I moved out to beautiful Glendale, California and have been working in the animation industry since as a storyboard artist and writer. My personal illustrations have been a great outlet for the ups & downs I feel working professionally.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I primarily like to toy with lowbrow imagery and give it a sense of depth beyond its normal associations. For instance, I’ve been recently obsessed with mascots, and many of the characters I draw are constantly grinning stupidly, inspired by corporate cartoon design. Maybe it’s my experience in an industry that commodifies creativity to sell to children, but I find something hilarious and juicy about marketed, controlled fun.
Recently I’ve been creating color illustrations digitally and then saving them out very small or as weird file formats and blowing them back up to achieve a crunchy blown-out look that feels nostalgic. The effect aimed for is that of a 1993 point and click CD-ROM game created by a dentist’s association or megachurch.
Beyond just making myself laugh, the goal of my art is trying to reclaim bright, insipid corporate cartooning and reinterpret it in an otherworldly setting. Am I circling around a nostalgic aesthetic because of unresolved childhood trauma? Probably but I’m a cartoonist not a therapist.
The stereotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
I think an underrated approach is stepping away from your medium and seeking other kinds of experiences or art forms. When I have dry spells where drawing feels like a chore, I like to learn some piano, or become obsessed with geography for a month. And then you completely forget about it and return to drawing. If it’s something you truly love to do, it will return, it might be just seasonal.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Most of my work is online.
Here’s me and Jacob Sluka’s animated shorts: https://www.vimeo.com/grossbusanimation
Check out my website, maybe buy a print from the shop:
Or reach out directly to support or commission me: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.bencrousewebsite.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jumpgalaxy
- Other: https://www.tumblr.com/jumpgalaxy
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