Ben Crowder

 Ben Crowder

Ben Crowder

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e-mail: ben.crowder@gmail.com

So... tell us about yourself.
I'm from Utah and have lived here pretty much my whole life, other than when I was a missionary in Thailand. By day I'm a software engineer and web designer at the BYU library. I'm happily married with three kids and one on the way, no pets, and a lot of books. Ice cream all the way. (Especially Farr's vanilla bean, with dry roasted peanuts sprinkled in.)

Why do you make art?
 I make art because it's delightful, and because I like making aesthetically pleasing pictures. I feel more whole and balanced when I make art. There are also facets of art that make me geek out a little (or a lot), like great lighting, (particularly with some good subsurface scattering), textures, bokeh, chromatic aberration, and strong color schemes. Beyond that, I love good art-making sessions where I'm able to stretch myself and level up a little, and where I work through the hard parts and come out the other end victorious.

 

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How much time do you get to spend making art?
Not very much -- I'm working on a master's in computer science, which is my excuse of the day, but to be honest I could almost certainly be making a lot more art than I currently am. Impostor syndrome runs exceedingly strong in me, however, and that's usually enough of a block to push me over to other pursuits, like programming. (I readily acknowledge that this is a flaw in me. I hope to fix it soon.)

Who are your favorite artists?
A few of them, in no particular order: Kirk Richards, Jenna von Benedikt, James Christensen, Brian Kershisnik, David Habben, Cassandra Barney, Denise Gasser, Caitlin Connolly, Whitney Johnson, Samuel Evensen, Brittany Scott.

Did you study art in school?
No, I'm self-taught.

Have you read any good books lately?
Yes! I love books, which is one of the main reasons I work in a library. (The only downside is that I then spend far more time reading than I do making art.)
Nonfiction: Shoe Dog, Taco USA, The Emperor of Scent, 1491, Destiny Disrupted, Hallucinations.
Fiction: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, The Warrior's Apprentice, The Engines of God, The Anubis Gates, Ready Player One.

How do you get through creative blocks?
I...read books and eat ice cream. More seriously: browsing other people's art always gets me back into an art-making mood, and then being conscious about the block -- identifying why I'm blocked and coming up with ideas for how to fix it -- almost always works.

How do you balance time between making art and marketing art?
To be honest, I don't market at all, other than posting pieces to Facebook and Instagram. (Since art is a side thing I do for fun, and since I'm fine with keeping it at that level, I haven't really felt the need to do more than that.)

What is your general opinion of the art community in Utah, what's great about it, what could be better?
While I do make art and also publish an (admittedly on hiatus) arts magazine (Mormon Artist), I don't feel like I've actually made much of an attempt to make myself part of the art community. I do hope to change that once I finish this master's, though.