Meet 42 year old, London born and raised street artist Ben Eine, who has been painting graffiti since the age of 14. His style consists of taking everything he learnt in graffiti about the letter form, and applying that to old hand produced signage, printing methods and techniques.
Like numerous artists, Ben successfully made the transition form graffiti art to street artist. He explained, "I'd been caught numerous times for graffiti, painting trains etc and the next time I got caught I was definitely looking at some serious prison time. I was also becoming very bored with graffiti and its lack of excitement. It was around this time that street art was beginning to happen and I saw a way where I could continue painting illegally and by changing what I painted very slightly, it became street art and therefore accepted rather than frowned upon."
One of Ben's more famous pieces is the Anti-Anti-Anti and Pro-Pro-Pro walls in East London. This piece came about after a design and typography hero of his, Neville Brody, organised the Anti Design festival. The festival was initiated to challenge an already existing festival that an abundant amount of people felt no longer captured the spirit of design. "Neville asked if I would like to get involved and I was like, 'Sure – find me a big wall and I'll paint it.' We didn't have a budget to paint this and it wound up costing me £1500, but it was half a street in the middle of East London and these opportunities don't turn up very often, so I thought it was worth it" he said. The day after he finished the piece, Ben received an email from his friend Mark, who works in the building opposite Anti-Anti-Anti. He was asked if he'd be interested in painting their wall. Fortunately for Ben, this piece had a small budget and the real kicker was it allowed for him to have two halves of a street in London, a rare opportunity for exposure.
With the Olympics in London this year, Ben is expecting it to have a 100% negative affect on the street art community. "Wherever the Olympics or Commonwealth games goes, those in power feel obliged to hide anything that's not pleasing to the eye of the visiting dignitaries and sponsors. I witnessed this personally in Melbourne and Sydney, so for the last year I've tried to paint as little as possible in London and spend my time travelling. I'm hoping that once the Olympics leaves, London will have more important things to spend its money on and our paintings will last again" he explained.
The immediate future for Ben involves a lot of painting. Works we can expect are a huge museum wall in Manchester, 20 plus shutters over a weekend in Bristol, Pleasure Island in London and pieces in Amsterdam, New York, Rome, Greece, LA, Newcastle, Norway and Moniker.
If you want to see more of Bens work you can do so on his website