something a little different. I contribute to a local free little magazine called “X”. last issue I had the pleasure of interviewing Ben Allen….read below to find out what this genuine dude is up.
I decided to finally upload it as both ben and myself thought the printed version didn’t do it justice. so grab a cuppa, and see whats up. THSLFE!
This Life creative…..I think the name alone sums up the whole outlook of this website. This Life is a creative hub for all artists. From street artist and tattooist’s to photographers and designers. Personally I think the World Wide Web is jam-packed with A LOT of crap, and it’s a breath of fresh air when a website comes up like this. Updated almost daily with contributors having their say and showing a window into their creative mindset, to full length and in-depth interviews with artists from around Australia. I have the pleasure of hanging out with the man behind this creative, so I thought it would be fitting to find out what triggered his desire to up the quality and quantity level of a web-based creative.
For those out there who haven’t discovered ThsLfe.Com briefly describe what the site is about and what people are going to expect?
That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Haha. When I started This Life, I set out with the intention of never saying what it “was” or “wasn’t”. The whole concept of it all is to encourage people to make their own decisions, express themselves in a manner of which they feel appropriate – To answer your question, This Life is not something that can be summarized or have a meaning or label attached to it. I feel that once you start saying what things are or are not that you pigeon-hole your self, and that’s not something that I want to do. I suppose if I had to describe what people are going to expect when they visit the site it would be that it is a documentation of a creative lifestyle – A documentation of a Counter Culture, if you will.
I have only known about “This Life” for a relatively short period of time. How long have you been running the site for? Was there any other project’s that you working on before?
It’s been running for over a year now, I think I kicked things off in about August 2009. If you’ve followed the site since then you will realize a lot has changed.
Previous to running This Life I ran a little online store selling a whole range of clothing relative to board and bike sports.
The idea of “this life” is fantastic, can you recall the day/moment when you decided to run a creative? What was the motivation kick?
I don’t remember the exact moment, but man I wish I did! I do remember sitting at my desk writing down a massive list of potential names for the site, and before that I had a plan of attack written out – People I wanted to interview, people I wanted to give props to, promotions and marketing stuff etc – Looking back at that list I was probably aiming high with some of the things I wanted to do, I think about 95% of it happened within the first few months, which is pretty cool.
As for the motivational kick, I am interested and involved in so many different things, I suppose I just wanted to bring all the elements of the lifestyle I live together (hence ‘This Life’), and it just so happens that I chose a website as a means to do it. As it turns out there are a whole lot of people who are interested in the lifestyles and culture that I surround my self with, the website has definitely brought them all together for me, in turn giving me opportunities to do a whole lot of rad shit that I otherwise would never have had the chance to do or be involved in.
Though I’d have to say the biggest motivator for me was that I had the chance to help other creative individuals expose and share their work with the rest of the world. It’s the best feeling when I see content from the site reblogged, or an artist that I’ve recently interview in a magazine or their work on a T-Shirt a few months down the track, it’s very humbling.
I am amazed at the interviews that you have running on a weekly basis, as I said earlier, it’s a breath of fresh air for a constantly updated site. Is this an area that you strive for, or does the passion simple explain the consistency?
Haha a little bit from column A, a little from column B.
The passion side of it does really drive me, and ultimately makes me keep doing what I do – If you aren’t passionate about something then what’s the point?
On the other hand, the marketing side of my brain comes to the conclusion that if I don’t keep my shit updated regularly then people are less likely to visit the site. I try and keep it fresh and interesting so that people have a reason to check back every day, not just once a month or when they see This Life in their bookmarks list.
So passion and logic balance themselves out pretty well on this one, I think.
Chatting over some nice java, I realized that your one of the most modest people I have met. All credit is going towards the artist. The artist’s exposure is your reward. How did this mindset come about?
haha, thanks man. This is true, I don’t really get off on or agree with the whole fame thing. I don’t want to be recognized as Ben from This Life when I walk down the street, This Life isn’t about me at all – Honestly, I don’t want to influence anyone, and I don’t want to take a chance at being “known” or becoming some kind of half cocked internet celebrity. I like to rearrange in public way too much for that anyway, haha. The idea of fame and celebrity disgusts me beyond comprehension. It gets me pretty pissed off that we live in a world where people give a fuck about what some fool in Hollywood ate for lunch, what they wore or when they took a shit or that some dirty bitch can release a home made porno and become famous from it – It’s pretty ridiculous – The idea of This Life is to push creativity and originality – I want people to make up their own minds about everything, even taking the chance of me personally influencing someone keeps my face in the shadows, so to speak.
I have to admit that what I just said is slightly hypocritical or contradictory, after all my opinion is now printed on these pages, but life is full of contradictions, isn’t it? I suppose in one respect I do want to influence people. I want people to wake the fuck up to their surroundings, to the “truths” that society presents you with, I want people to ask questions, read things and to get off Face book, turn off the TV, stop worrying about what other people are saying and doing and to start living. I want to obliterate the idea of what “cool” is. The coolest thing you can do is to be yourself, and if I can make one person realize that, my job is done
So fuck your scene, fuck trying to look like little clones of your favorite band and fuck your Facebook friends, and fuck sitting there with your little crew and talking about how original and misunderstood you are, just relax and be yourself. Who cares if people think your deal is weird, as long as you’re stoked and comfortable with it that’s all that matters.
Obviously you’re a lover of ART. What medium really gets your taste buds singing?
Art is certainly something that my life revolves around and something that I spend a great deal of my time involving myself in. Whether it’s doing it myself, looking at it, writing about it, thinking about it, taking photos of it or talking about it, it’s part of my daily life and is something that makes me feel like nothing else.
As for what I’m in to…I don’t know where to begin and where to stop! Haha. Obviously tattoo and tattoo orientated art work is something that I have a deep affliction for. The same can be said for anything that falls under the graffiti/street art umbrella, they are big favorites’ of mine. Though my focus and interest does seem to shift between them quite often. Some weeks all I will draw is tattoo style shit, and then other weeks it’s working on letter forms and characters. Then there is photography, which I also have a great passion for and spend a lot of my time looking at or doing…Or trying at least haha. I look at so much different stuff every day though, I’ve literally got 100’s maybe even 1000’s of art blogs and websites bookmarked on my computer that I sift through on a day-to-day basis.
I have a massive appreciation for all art though, once you realize how hard most of the stuff you see is to do I think you appreciate it a lot more…Perhaps that’s why people are so quick to shut down and hate on graffiti and street art, because they don’t understand it.
Ive always see you at events and shows with a camera in hand, is this a growing love?
Yeah man, I love taking photos! I’m not about to go out and say I’m some photographer or whatever, I don’t think that’s a label I’d ever put on myself or decide that’s what I am or what I do, but taking photographs is something I’ve been interested and involved in for a long time. I think I got my first point and shoot camera when I was about six, then a Polaroid when I was a little older. I didn’t really start taking anything decent until I was in High School I suppose, when I got a cool little Digital for Christmas. I just always took photos of riding, skating, blowing shit up and fucking round as teenagers, as you do. It wasn’t until 08 or 09 that I got my DSLR that I’m using now. As lame and cliché as it sounds, I really enjoy just documenting and capturing my surroundings and the things that I’m fortunate enough to see and be involved in. If I’m lucky it looks cool when I put it on my website. It’s definitely a love of mine and one that I’m sure I’ll never perfect, but that won’t stop me trying.
THE BOOK, my anticipation for this to drop is ridiculous, tell us about this?
You think your anticipation for it is ridiculous!!!
The book is a documentation of the Australian counter-culture, and is made up from photographs from Tristan Edouard and myself.
We’re trying to cover every state in Australia, photographing and documenting the life and culture that lives and flows through the street, as well as the personalities who have shaped it.
You can expect a whole lot of graffiti, tattoo, skating, bums, girls, music and everything else that we and our friends regularly involve themselves in.
We are aiming to make it the book that you always wished you could buy, but you thought it was impossible for anyone to cover that many different aspects of a culture and make them work together in one book.
We’re working on a few big surprises; including some pretty cool stuff from other artists that fall well outside the spectrum of photography too, so you’ll all have to wait to buy a copy (or two) to find out what we’ve got up our sleeves! let’s just say that there will be some shit in there that will blow your mind.
Along with the book, a lot of big plans are fermenting in those brain cells. What can you unleash to the public at this stage? Any new additions or changes to the website?
I think that is my problem, I’m always working on something or thinking about a new plan or idea, I can never just have one thing on the go. There is a lot of things happening, things that on the day of writing this interview I actually held off on letting everyone know about, so keep a real close eye on This Life or our Facebook page for updates and developments on that, I think it’s something everyone will be pretty stoked on, I know I am!
As for new additions and changes to the website, that’s all in the mix too. the only constant in life is change and that go’s for This Life too. I’d say you’ll begin to see some changes in the website over the coming months; I am really focused on getting it to be everything I want it to be and to deck it out with as much radness for everyone as I can!
Who out there deserves props?
Again, where to start?I think it’d be pretty fair to begin with saying thanks to all the artists and creative individuals who have let me interview them, poke my camera in their faces, welcomed me in to their homes and studios, sleep on their couches, hang out with them and for being involved in This Life and making it what it is, I will be forever grateful.
Secondly, to all the viewers, readers, everyone who chooses to receive Facebook and Twitter updates from us, thanks guys it really does mean a lot to me, you are what makes This Life what it is, and with out every single one of you I’d never have had the opportunities that I’ve been lucky enough to have done half the shit that this website has allowed me to do, so once again thank you. Big thanks and massive props to all the contributors that are involved in This Life for making it what it is, and picking up my slack when I haven’t made a post for a few days!
Last but certainly not least, my beautiful girlfriend for putting up with my shit, late nights on the computer, darting off around the country side and my constant dribble about art and artists and everything else This Life, much love!