Artist Interviews 2023 | Ben Tarento

/ / Artist Interviews 2023

We Asked Ben Tarento 12 Interesting Questions About Himself.

What was the inspiration behind your piece for SWELL Sculpture Festival 2023?

The love of the ocean, the bizarre unseen world beneath the sea, and spending many hours underwater, over 3000 dives around the planet.

Beneath the surface, the inspiration is dark subject matter as it references the obliteration and duress of global coral reef systems from the relentlessness of Capitalism and its Extractivist tendencies. Objectively, UP-RISE compares the formwork or scaffolding used to construct human architecture or habitats with the growth characteristic of hard-branching coral. The skeleton from the previous coral polyp (which is an animal) provides the structure for the next polyp to form its own skeleton and repeat the process. Over vast amounts of time, coral reef systems grow and create habitats for the majority of aquatic life in the sea, much of which is a staple diet for many humans. The title UP-RISE suggests the animals have had enough and are ready to fight back! 😉

As an artist, how do you manage a work-life balance?

Accept that it won’t be balanced. Be ready to work by block/chunk life routines, which means as many days as needed for art making, admin (there is lots of it!) paid work, and socialising. Then full days clear of any of that for valuable personal time (including rest), partner time and family time.

As an artist, art educator and mother of 2 little girls, maintaining a work-life balance is extremely important to me. Art is not only my passion but also a significant part of my daily life, and I have found a beautiful synergy between my creative pursuits, my role as an art educator, and my responsibility as a mother.
One of the key factors that contribute to this balance is involving my children in my art classes. By sharing my love for art with them, I get to spend quality time while nurturing their creativity & artistic development. As well as the support of my husband, his assistance with my art and understanding of the demands of my artistic career has allowed me to have the time and space to nurture my creativity while giving me the flexibility to prioritise my family when needed.

If you could travel back in time and do one thing, when would it be and what would you do?

To witness Ancient Egyptian temples and sculptures being built. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? either professionally or socially 

Existentially: “what we do to the land and waterways, we do to ourselves”,
and professionally: Lean in, Listen often, and Keep turning up!
“Happiness is a choice” -ever since hearing that, I have always chosen to be happy 🙂

If you weren’t an artist, what would your profession be?

Likely an in-water marine scientist, and/or a professional welder, or maybe a deep diving commercial welder!

If you are having a ‘cuppa’ is it tea or coffee?

Definitely performance enhancing coffee!

What was your most played song last year?

Lady Day and John Coltrane, by Gil-Scot Heron

What is your easy-to-watch movie?

Indiana Jones

In your opinion, how can artists support each other?

Drop your ego and create more works together!

Is sustainability important for you and your work?

Absolutely. I’m OCD with waste, I reuse everything and always have a disposal plan in mind.

When is your favourite time of the day to create art?

Midday to sundown, with the occasional 8pm-midnight late burn!

If you could have lunch with any artist from any era, who would it be?

Bernini to talk dynamics and movement in sculpture, or Hieronymus Bosch to gain more of a glimpse into his bizarre mind 😉