· Guiding students at a high school level in preparation for art school application.
· Teaching students of all ages classical masters techniques as well as contemporary illustration.
· More than a decade of work as an independent artist exhibiting in Chicago
Ben has been selected as one of five finalists in Tully’s Coffee Gathering Grounds art competition. If selected he will fly to Vermont to participate in a community arts project involving outdoor design and installation for one week. This would be perhaps the greatest accomplishment in his art career to date. Your vote can help. If you would take just a brief moment to click the link and vote for his work he would greatly appreciate it. They allow one vote each day until 5/24 so revisit the link if you can.
Ben Salus was born in South Chicago in 1979. He is a fourth generation south side Chicagoan. His family emigrated from Russia to escape the troubles and oppression of the Jewish people. Since the late 1800’s his family has been everything artisans, card sharks during the great depression, naval sailors in WWII, union workers and cab drivers. All of the elements of his roots are fundamentally engrained in his spiritual and psychological beliefs, as well as in his work.
Ben received his Bachelors degree in fine arts from the American Academy of Art in 2003. His curriculum focused on figure studies, color theory, masters painting techniques. He began organizing art events with other students while still in school. After graduation Ben taught art to Boys and Girls Club of Chicago students K-5 for 2 years. The highlight of his teaching came after traveling through Israel, Germany, France, Holland, and Spain. He compiled a slideshow of museum and street art from these countries which was used as subject matter for his students.
Ben’s display of his art work started at age nineteen while still in school. He organized shows at Café El Viejo in Pilsen for nine consecutive months featuring himself and one other artist each month. His work has been displayed in cafes, record stores, art fairs, and galleries throughout Chicago. Pilsen was his first and primary showcase area. Later Wicker Park and Andersonville were the neighborhoods where he organized benefits working with artists, musicians and break dancers. Money was raised for HIV AIDS support groups, nonprofit social work, and families who suffered losses due to gang violence.
Ben’s style can best be described as mixed media collage painting. He has been focusing on this technique for nearly a decade. He does not use borrowed images; in other words a photo is one he has taken and a drawing is one he created. The layering methods end when the collage does not appear to be stuck on. Although some images are left to pop out, the process strives to blend rhythms and temperatures. The subject matter includes family, travel, nature, music and all things urban. The art reflects the belief that we are complex beautiful individuals who reflect our entire history through all of our actions.
My philosophy is that all hardships we face must be turned into strength and purpose. In this process, true beauty is found. When we are incapable of seeing our lives as rich, and we focus on a few issues, the picture lacks depth and truth. Every drawing or photo I take is autobiographical. Every painting I make stems from emotions, rather than thoughts alone. I pick apart the images and blend them back together until I find something genuine. I am a collage artist who doesn’t use borrowed images. If I include a drawing or photograph in my piece, I created it. I believe that when we describe ourselves, we include an inevitable amount of delusion or denial. I attempt to circumvent this through a process of layering and fragmentation. Certain subjects are often too painful to address head on, so I take anywhere from one to a few focal points, and blend sketches and photos until it becomes rhythmic and fluid. The finished product becomes representative of my experiences and reveals growth and joy often forgotten in life’s trials, as well as the guilt or shame carried within. This process ultimately attempts to address and overcome. All people know what it is to hurt, to overcome, and to feel joy. I want my audience to feel personally connected while remaining explorers in the world I create.
Little peace, little pieces
Make a hole, a whole
Burn the forest
Spring from ashes