Ben Young

Living in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, Ben Young is a self-taught artist who has been creating glass sculpture for over 15 years and has presented alongside well-known glass artists both globally and in Australia.
Having spent most of his life living in the lovely Bay of Plenty (North Island, NZ), it seemed straightforward for him to explore the local landscape and surroundings for early inspiration in his art.
A keen surfer and a boat builder by profession, he is mostly affected by the ocean and brings these passions together in his eponymous glass forms. He constructs versions, draws templates, leaves custom jigs and then cuts the layers with a glazier’s hand-tool. The complexity comes from the preparation phase, where he states ‘I do a lot of thinking before I even start to draw or cut.’ Then he sketches the concept by hand and creates a plan using traditional technical drawing techniques: ‘I use 2D shapes and need to work out how to interpret that into a 3D completed piece. Occasionally my starting point varies radically since I must discover a way to layer the glass to make certain shapes.’
‘How I use the glass enables me to portray so many distinct elements of my conceptual thoughts,’ he says. ‘Lighting plays a massive part in the demonstration of my pieces. When lit from beneath, the light reflects and gives off the illusion of the piece being brought to life. I expect viewers might imagine the work as something “alive” that generates the illusion of space, movement, depth and awareness of spatial being. I like to play with all the irony between the glass being a good material and the way I could form such natural and organic shapes.’
At one point the acquisition of a large number of recycled glass by an old glass-house provoked new thoughts and ideas around the creation of life, at the Life Within Series. The concept which the glass had previously been used to house life and expansion inspired him to make his own life forms and shapes, like a pregnant figure, inside the glass. The lamination process complemented this thought as every work grew from being one, solitary coating of glass, into a set of layers which together formed a whole creation.
Young’s present work explores the use of industrial substances to compliment the natural glass shapes. He enjoyed the thought that concrete is a primary construction material, as well as the visual and physical contrasts between the textures and colors of both substances. Still noticeably affected by the ocean and bodies of water – the concrete forms have come to be an integral component of his art types since have the little bronze carvings which he sculpts initially from wax and uses to help depict the narrative suggested by his own landscapes.

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