For portraiture, artists would often move to unexplored mediums in order to express the emotion they associate with the human face. Fashion designer and artist Benjamin Shine, however, has mastered the use of the flowy, uncontrollable fabric tulle to create abstract human faces. These portraits look as if made of smoke, perhaps rippling in water. As the sun hits the tulle sculptures, colors seem to change, the emotions the face imbibes transitioning closely. But how is the artist working with something as free as fabric, and what prompted him to begin? Here, we try to understand Shine and his works.
Shine is a fashion designer, so fabric is one of the primary objects he works with. However, it wasn’t until the artist saw a crumpled ball of tulle that he suddenly understood the potential of this fabric. He manipulates single lengths of tulle into folds and forms, conceiving a surreal face that is at once calm and calamitous to look at. At their deepest, Benjamin Shine’s portraits represent energy and impermanence, the faces evoking mindfulness, lost in meditation.
The multidisciplinary artist creates both sculptures and canvas portraits. For sculptures he uses thread and needle to create the folds and form the shape, whereas an iron is used to hold tulle on canvas.
The process always involves meticulous detailing, especially when it comes to the choice of color. The artist prefers using medium to dark hues, for these offer the level of contrast perfect for his ephemeral portraits.
He would often use shades of blue, purple and pink to achieve the desired result; these colors also look energetic and provide an electrical element that his works aim to capture.
The use of fabric in art is not uncommon, but to work so ardently to produce faces out of what was once just a roll of fabric is, without a doubt, a rare feat.
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