Meet Ben Klevay, artist behind our newest collaboration with the Sierra Club. We sat down with Ben to chat about his process, what inspires him, and what he does to relax after a long day.
What’s your process when you’re getting ready to work on something? Any special music you play, do you make a cup of coffee or anything like that?
I write down stuff in sketchbooks and go back through the sketchbooks to see if anything seems right or funny. There’s a lot of writing the same phrase before I paint it. If it has been written down more than 3 times, chances are I’ll paint it at some point. Sometimes I’ll paint a practice chart beforehand, but most of the time I’ll just get right into it. This usually means I’ll make mistakes, which I tend to be upset with at first, but then like...mispellings are my favorite.
I listen to records or radio shows while I paint. Watch TCM (have it on in the background.) Anything with no commercials.
What part of your work do you enjoy the most?
The actual lettering by hand. I could paint a million Os, but every one is gonna be different no matter how many times i go through the motions. It’s all muscle memory but always inconsistent. The letter strokes relax me. If I don’t paint for a couple days, I’m a mess.
What inspires you?
My family. Old cartoons and movies. Records.
What do you do to unwind after a long day of work?
Play with the kiddos. Grill. have a few beers of course!
What’s the importance of advocating for environmental issues? How do you convey that in your art?
Things get messed up if you don’t take care of them. I make paper signs. If don’t treat them nicely they will get destroyed. Same with our environment.
This collection contains a lot of vote messaging—why do you think voting is important?
It’s really time to vote, isn’t it? You don’t need to hear it from me. Everyone knows. Vote for what you think is right.