Benjamin Johnson

Magical colours

As a child I created a world with colourful rainbows, blue cows, and pink rabbits where ordinary objects could be magical. Inevitably, I grew up and that colourful magical world became just a distant memory, it was replaced by a monotone world of blacks and greys, and my artwork to some extent followed suit.

However, all that changed when I visited Latin America, there I saw vibrant colours in use everywhere from the natural world, to art, to clothing, to houses. The vivid combinations of colours used in ordinary objects gave the whole environment a magical atmosphere.

For me, someone accustomed to sandstone or red bricks used in the houses where I grew up, I was deeply impacted by the audacity, courage and talent Latin people had in combining colours in such a way and painting their houses with cheerful bright pinks, yellows and greens. There the streets looked like living rainbows and I finally began to be able to visualise the so-called ‘magic realism’ that writers such as Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez so well described in their stories set in latin cultures.

My inner child woke up and began to play and explore with colours again. I decided to leave behind the blacks and whites, to embrace the colourful world of magic realism. As an artist I feel happier with my work and I try to share this with others by using vivid colours in my prints.

My artwork now tries to present a more cheerful, magical and maybe outrageous world, by using vivid, high contrast colours, combined with bold textures layered on top of drawings of ordinary objects or familiar places, thus trying to recreate that world of blue cows and pink rabbits and hoping to bring a smile to people’s faces along the way.

Visit Ben’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Ben by Lucy Cartwright

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