Meet Ben: Metals Resident
yardie interview with ben levine
SY: Hi Ben! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? What department are you working in?
Sure! My name is Ben Levine, I am an artist and engineer here in RI and I am working in the metals department.
SY: Where are you from?
SY: We get this question a lot… how would YOU define Industrial Arts?
OOOOooo That’s a really fun question! I think Industrial Arts really represents the appreciation for analog practices. It’s about using your hands and thinking about the world in this very mechanical way that allows for all sorts of weird and often very physical and tangible solutions.
SY: What are you working on now?
Right Now I am working on an abstract sculpture of an upright bass, but I just started to plan out an even more abstract sculpture of a human using the concept of fluid flow through a pipe.
SY: Who are your greatest inspirations? What work influences your work?
I don’t have many inspirations that I can name, although I do thoroughly enjoy Richard Serra’s work. My work has been influenced by my mechanical engineering degree and old machines. I love how intricate and thoughtful old mechanical systems were put together.
SY: Do you show your work? Where can people see it/ buy it/ experience it?
I am still relatively new when it comes to public showing, but the best way to see my work right now is on instagram @ferrous_sculpt. Do feel free to reach out if you want to chat or are interested in anything.
SY: Can you tell us a little bit about your artistic practice?
I tend to think about a project for a while, months or years before really diving into making it, but when I do put a hand to metal it doesn’t take much time at all before its finished. I rarely have more than a sketch or some calculations to go on before diving in.
SY: How did you find The Steel Yard? What were you doing before you joined the Residency Program?
OH, MAN! I found out about The Steel Yard when I was 15, I took a weekend welding workshop and kept coming back for open studios. I accidentally volunteered an event and loved it so I volunteered here more and more. Sooner or later I was a shop hand, a TA, worked in Public Projects, Worked events. Went to school for a bit, came back, got an engineering job and now I’m 23 and a resident artist haha.
SY: Have you ever worked in a shared studio before? What do you think?
I grew up at The Steel Yard so I really don’t know anything else. I work out of a friend’s barn when I was at school in Iowa, but I much prefer this. There are always people around and it really instills a warm sense of community.
SY: Have you ever taken a Steel Yard course? Can you tell us about your experience?
I have taken a few! The first one got me hooked on sculpture and the steelyard as a whole, and the second one was actually taught by Topher! I think one of my best pieces came out of that class and I’m really grateful for his patience and time.
SY: Have you ever Instructed/ or been a TA for a Steel Yard course? Can you tell us about your experience?
I have been a TA in a bunch of courses here and more to come! I love it, each group that comes in is always a little different. It’s always really fun to help people come out of their shell and gain more confidence with the tools.
SY: Have you ever worked on a Public Project? Can you tell us about your experience?
I have! I had a great time in public projects and really getting to see the impact that local work has. There is a wonderful sense of connectedness that comes with knowing you had a hand in shaping your surroundings.
SY: Have you ever attended a Steel Yard event? Can you tell us about your experience?
I volunteer them mostly, the People are always so excited and amazed by the space. We also have a pretty great event staff.
SY: When you’re not in the studio working- what do you do in your free time?
Outside of this and my day job, I like to attend artist talks and go to the beach, playing my upright bass, and rock climbing.
OKAY, TIME FOR RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS!
SY: Favorite food?
SY: Favorite movie?
SY: Favorite book?
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the sea
SY: Favorite artist/maker?
Cant choose one
SY: What skill would you like to master?
SY: Favorite tool in the shop?
Portable Band Saw