FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This page aims to help you learn all you need to know about comissioning modern wildlife artwork, portraits and pet portraits by Ben Ark. It also offers an interesting insite in to his methods of working and provides the answers to a number of popular questions that have been asked over the years.
WHAT MATERIALS WILL YOU USE TO COMPLETE MY ARTWORK?
All of my artworks are completed using professional quality artist materials. My work is described as mixed media. I use watercolours and acrylic because I enjoy the way they can be handled and the fact that they have such a quick drying time. I thrive on the pressure of working quickly before the mediums dry and become unworkable. I also use a computer and editing software to paint digitally. The process comprises of painting an image, scanning the image on to a computer, creating a digital collage using elements of photographs and paint. I again use pigments, paint, pencil and ink to paint over and layer the collages to create the finished piece. Each piece I create is probably tackled in a different way as I like to maintain variety in the way I work.
HOW LONG WILL MY ARTWORK TAKE TO COMPLETE?
Each bespoke commissioned piece can take many days to plan and complete. The time taken depends on a number of factors including the chosen size, subject matter, drying time and complexity of the piece. I would aim to complete a commission within 4 - 6 weeks but can provide more detailed information upon ordering as this is determined by my workload. If you require a portrait within a certain timescale I do offer a fast track service but I will never compromise the quality of my work to do this.
Prints take between 7-14 days to arrive as they are printed on order by a skilled craftsperson.
HOW MUCH DOES A BESPOKE COMMISSION COST?
A bespoke commission will cost more than an original piece of my artwork. This is due to the additional processes and time associated with creating a unique one off personal piece that is both individual and exclusive to you. In return you will receive a rare and original artwork that captures the style, colours, dimensions and subject you dreamt of. The creative journey is fun and immersive and I would hope you are able to take something emotional from it too. If you have any initial concerns about the commissioning process being expensive I would be happy to alleviate these concerns by an initial discussion as well as keeping you informed and engaged throughout the process. As a starting point to your enquiry, you can find more about the cost of a bespoke commission on our prices page.
DO YOU EVER DECLINE COMMISSIONS?
Yes. I do sometimes have to turn down commission requests. If, as an artist, you take on the wrong commission you don't fully engage with the subject matter and may start to resent the project. My work is a reflection of myself and I will never disregard my principles if I am not happy undertaking a project. If someone is putting their trust in me to deliver, I need to share the same passion as the sitter or commissioner as I don't wish to waste other peoples or my own time.
WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE THE FINAL ARTWORK?
This is very unlikely to happen. As I encourage you to get involved with the commissioning process and keep you informed throughout we will both develop a good understanding of what you are wanting to achieve. As a result, changes can be made during the process as agreed by ourselves. If you are a fan of my work and have hence engaged in the commissioning process it is highly likely that you will enjoy the original piece I create for you.
IS USING A COMPUTER CHEATING?
I am a contemporary artist and choose to use a variety of tools that are at my disposal. It is a common misconception that using a computer gives you an unfair advantage. All marks and strokes that I use in my work have originated from me and are not created by the computer. I make my own electronic brushes by using physical paint and brushes to create the desired shapes. It is also interesting to note that there are computer generated images currently on display in the National Portrait Gallery amongst others. You can learn more about Ben and his ways of working on the about page.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH A NEW PROJECT?
I am often working on numerous pieces at once. This allows you as an artist to return to an artwork with a renewed take on the subject and composition.
WHAT SUBJECTS DO YOU PAINT?
The natural world has always inspired me and I love that it is available for free to the masses. The natural world has been a favoured topic throughout my life. In the art world, wildlife and nature are often tackled very well in a photrealistic fashion. The way I work I like to challenge the norm by using styles that many others aren't attempting. You can witness the wide variety of subject matters tackled by Ben in the Ben Ark Art Shop.
HOW DOES BEING LARGELY SELF TAUGHT IMPACT ON YOUR WORK?
In many ways it is a major advantage as I am not governed or bound by the rules of what can and cant be done. I'm adaptable and develop new methods of working if I do encounter an obstacle. I feel that I am constantly evolving to better myself and my work. Whilst there are many things I probably never studied in as much details a classically trained artist I am not constrained by any rules. It is in this light that I embrace technology and use it as I do any other medium or tool in my work.