Rod Ben is in the Student Spotlight to kick off the Fall 2008 Quarter. Rod is a second-year MFA candidate who has been doing some wonderful work, and we're very proud to show it off.
Songs My Enemies Taught Me
1. So Rod, where are you from?
Fallschurch, Virginia, five minutes outside of DC.
2. Where have you been to school?
I studied at the Art Institute of Washington, DC, where I received my bachelors in Media Arts and Animation.
Alice in Wonderland
3. What attracted you to Illustration?
Growing up in the DC area, I was surrounded by towering structures that looked like they were being eaten alive by art. Graffiti was the name of the game, and my first exposure to illustration. I’ve been addicted ever since.
4. Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences have to be my experiences. I’ve traveled to many places, met many different kinds of people, and experienced so many great things. I would say my favorite kinds of experiences, and thus influences, are the times where I’ve sat down with a complete stranger and just listen to what he or she had to rant about. I often feel that when I create a piece of art, I’m creating it for those people.
I Heart Aspara
5. If you weren’t studying illustration at SCAD, what would you likely be doing?
Cooking. I really like to eat good food, and I like to cook good food, so I think I’d probably be a chef. No particular cuisine, just whatever makes you gain ten pounds and tastes good you know?
6. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to wander and choose random ‘spots’ to hit up with friends and family; cafes, bars, restaurants etc. I’ve always enjoyed the experience of going somewhere new. I’m a pretty simple guy, I just like being around friends and family, have a frosty beer, and have healthy conversation.
7. What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I’m not so sure if there is anything people don’t know about me. I try to bring everything to the table as soon as I meet someone. You either like me or you don’t, but at least you know what you’re getting.
8. What would your dream job/client be and why?
I’m really into the urban apparel industry right now. I like designing t-shirts, skateboards, and I hope to break into the vinyl doll industry. Hey why not right? My dream job would be; me starting my own urban apparel and product line, hiring all of my friends, and then taking over the world, one industry at a time.
I’m all about working with my friends. I think the best way to run a company would be for everyone to get along and knowing each other well enough so that business runs smooth. So yeah, dream job? Definitely me and my friends working together.
9. What’s your typical process for creating your artwork?
I always begin with the sketch. More often than not, any finished piece I do comes from a random sketch or doodle. Not that I don’t come up with concepts intentionally. But I’m sure like most artists, the sketchbook is where you’ll find the most raw and passionate imagery.
So from the sketch I then usually scan it in for coloring digitally. I usually import my scans into Adobe Flash for coloring. I find that most artists think that it’s strange that I use Flash to illustrate, but I come from an animation background, so I’m used to both illustrating and animating entirely in Flash. I like working in Flash because I work more vector-based than pixel-based, and there are certain tricks I can pull off in Flash that I can’t in Illustrator.
So basically I use my original sketch, make a line drawing with the brush tool, color with the brush and paint bucket, and export an image; all in Flash.
Aerial Frog-Fight (acrylics on gessoed panel)
10. Sum up your personal philosophy in 25 words or less.
“I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid”.