This month we meet an artist from Liverpool, which is also home of many other talents from a variety of fields. From the music scene there are names like John and Ringo of the Beatles, Pete Burns, and even Rick Astley. Coming from cinema and TV there is director Clive Barker, who wrote and directed Hellraiser – and even the sexy Kim Cattrell better known as Samantha from Sex in the City. The fact is that there has been a great flow of talent coming from Liverpool and I am about to introduce you to one more. Ben Youdan hails from this same city in England and is making a name for himself with his sparkling creations.

I had the chance to meet him in person when he was here in Berlin with his husband for the Easter celebrations – himself a member of the leather community but still maintains a deep pride in his Skin roots. We had an interesting dialogue about his art, and I listened to his responses that were heavily seasoned with a distinct Liverpool accent. Ben is a man of many talents – he has earned himself not one, but a handful of university degrees in Art, Architecture and Philosophy and this disipline has assisted him to refine his technique of portraiture, all of which are painstakingly constructed in many layers.

Humans are indeed sexual beings and the inclusion of this particular artistic element of male nudes and porn stills pays homage to gay sexuality.

He also shared some stories about his earlier days of coming of age in Liverpool with its Skinhead community there, and yes he admitted to witnessing more than his share of broken bottles along the way – but told of the beauty that he saw in them rather than only the destruction that is viewed by most. He spoke of seeing the light refracting on the broken pieces of glass in the streets and how with the destruction of an ordinary object it could be totally transformed into something that gave it a whole new dimension of allure. „A shimmering broken bottle refracting the light is like a fine cut gemstone, out of turmoil and destruction comes a new and natural beauty“, he said.

Rather than musical or theatrical, Ben‘s art is visual but feeds on all the genres that I have previously mentioned as well as his connection to the fetish community. He went on to explain the process of making one of his signature portrait pieces and how memories play such an important part in their composition. In building each piece just as with architecture, the foundation of each portrait is done first, here it is with black and white collage on wood panel. Each collaged piece is carefully chosen and placed to give the overall image the light and dark shading needed to form the figure. When you look at this base layer a little closer you realize that all the collage pieces are imagery from gay porn – with all kinds of sex going on under there. Humans are indeed sexual beings and the inclusion of this particular artistic element of male nudes and porn stills pays homage to gay sexuality.

Next comes the pigments and the twinkle. A transluscent tsunami of color and shine are applied over the black and white collage bringing each portrait to life – then sequins, crystals, glitter, faux gems, and even pieces of broken glass are carefully placed to create the completed artwork. This final layer is what makes his art so individual and gives every portrait that trademark sparkle.

Ben has also created a full range of celebrity portraits that include pop culture, music, tv, and film personalities, but here a special collection of his works is curated to ‚reflect‘ on our community – his sexy men and of course the infamous Miss Piggy, the outspoken VIP extraordinaire we all know and idolize for her glamour and outrageous personality.

www.instagram.com/benyoudanart

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