As one of the most respected and prolific names in the business, we were very pleased to learn this week that Ben Drury has finally got himself a website! The excitement that reached the studio on hearing the good news was almost too much – for the first time ever a place to see his Unkle covers, Nike trainers, Dizzee collaborations, ATP artwork and more. So, of course we took Ben aside to find out what’s taken him so long to pleasure our eyes with such a compilation.
Hi Ben, am I right in thinking you’ve never had a portfolio website before? Very excited to see a site choc-full of your work – why did you decide an online presence was finally necessary?
I’d been sceptical but was persuaded, eventually. My friend Matt at Houston gallery in Seattle hosted a mini site of my work to accompany a solo show in 2001. It quickly became completely out of date and finally he took it down. Since then I’d been meaning to do something but as my archive goes back some 17 years it was going to be a task and there was always something else I needed to be getting on with. After a few false starts I found a way to put a site up quickly which I can add to really fast. That’s why I like the continuous parade presentation. I had resisted the idea of stopping work to make a retrospective archive website but this way, I can just drop new work in. There’s a stack of stuff still to come, old and new and I’m already thinking of ways to improve it.
As a designer I’ve always been pigeonholed and I appear to have effortlessly segued from being known primarily as a niche music packaging specialist to a niche trainer designer… the site will hopefully go someway to redress the balance and show some of the other things I do. Anyway I’m very happy to be opening up this channel of communication with the wider world and looking forward to some new collaborations.
Your work with Will Bankhead for Mowax has been much lauded – do you guys still work together?
It’s been a while since we did something together, although we are always exchanging ideas and discussing concepts… If the right opportunity came up I think we’d both leap at the chance. Meanwhile I contribute to www.thetrilogytapes.com. I love the work he does for Honest Jons, he’s a constant inspiration to me
You’ve become one of the most respected names in design working today – what, in your opinion is this down to? Luck? Hard Graft?
Haha… news to me! I was lucky to have found something early on that seriously interests me, and continues to interest me. There’s been plenty of both luck and hard graft involved.
Your folio is full of ‘dream projects’ in the eyes of many working in the industry today. You’ve designed trainers for Nike, ATP visuals with Simpsons Characters, and record sleeves for Unkle – what on earth is left for you to cross off your list?
I’m stoked to see my work gathered together in one place on the site but it makes me very aware of all the things I’ve yet to do. I’ve worked on some great projects with amazing collaborators but it doesn’t feel like i’ve even scratched the surface. I’d like to do more with moving image graphics, there’s a few people I want to work with in that field, I’ve always wanted to do some film credits, moving typography. I’d also love to get stuck into a big old brand ident, I love the total commitment that a large scale project demands. I’ve given a few talks about my work at various events. It was torment to begin with but after a couple of events I began to really enjoy it. That’s something i’d like to do more of, but more from a teaching angle. My friends Eike (HORT) and Ed Gill both teach and are very inspiring when they talk about it so maybe in the future..
Finally, are you working on anything at the moment you can tell us about, and what does the future hold for Ben Drury?
Well I am art directing something right now but I’m not talking about it until it’s finished. You’ll see it online soon. And in the future, I hope to keep working the way I always have been, total immersion is the way I like it.