Can’t Make Her Think…

Ben Baldwin

It was Dorothy Parker, wasn’t it, who when challenged to include the word “horticulture” in a proverb, came up with: You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.

Which is most excellent on so many levels, don’t you agree? Anyway.

I’ve been thinking. (Yes, thanks, I do that from time to time. You can probably hear it: it’s that horrible, rusty grinding sound. The one that sounds like an underground squid eating a metal chicken. It’s quite distinctive).

So, yes. Thinking.

Following on from yesterday’s street-art stylings on the Underbelly Project, I realised I don’t pay much lip service to art, or more properly, Art.

I freely admit I have as much artistic ability as that squid I was talking about. Or possibly the metal chicken. I mean, you’re talking to someone who took GCSE Art purely and simply because it got her out of Wednesday afternoons running round the athletics field in her mid-teens. I did a pretty good drawing, ironically, of a trainer, and my still-life bottles were predictably both empty and da bomb. The ceramic mirror frame had a bit of a firing mishap and ended up both (a) wonky and (b) mustard yellow. Not flattering. But the masks I did were kick-ass: 4 masks, each split vertically into opposing designs. Night & day, male & female (complete with glued-on false eyelashes, the experience of which put me off ever wanting to stick them onto my own face), heaven & hell and comedy & tragedy. Those masks were, by my standards, exquisite.

That’s not to say I don’t like art, or envy people who do have that talent to make things appear from nothing, to make a bunch of lines on paper look like something I can believe in, something I can feel. I suppose it’s why I always wanted to write–there had to be some way to relate the things in my head to other people, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be with watercolours. Or clay (I can still picture the exact shade of mustard. Yuck).

So I figured I’d turn this week into Art Week, and do something, errr… arty every day. We started off with Underbelly, so today it’s Ben Baldwin.

I have a print of his Seaside Excursion 1 in the hall, and it’s fabulous. Every now and again I wander through his site, making oooooooh noises and adding to the list of Stuff I Want. His work is increasingly popping up in magazines and on book covers and he’s got a nice way with intriguingly spooky visuals. The majority of his pieces are somewhere in the greyscale between whimsical and absolutely bloody terrifying, and always have the kind of detail that pulls you back over and over again.

"Everything is as Flesh" - Ben Baldwin

Like. Very, very like.


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