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Ben studio.jpeg

We made it down to Ben's studio in Kreuzberg this week to chat with one of the original core members of the LIB collective. Here's what he had to say.

New Zealand. That’s a long way away. What brought you to Berlin?

I wanted to get out of New Zealand I wanted to see the world. At least Europe. Berlin was just a blip on my radar while I was travelling and when I came through it was everything I guess! The place to be for me.


The culture, the lifestyle, the music, the art, parties, cheap living, street art. I knew of street art but I didn’t really know enough about it and then when I came here everything made sense with the stuff that I had been doing.

So had you been doing street art before coming to Berlin?

No, not at all. I knew a couple of people who had been doing stuff and I knew of it. There's a bit of a graffiti scene in New Zealand. There's a guy called Cinzah Mertens who I knew who had a street art style who was doing some pasteups in New Zealand. It was when I came here that I was like suddenly oh, now I get it. It makes sense now.


So when was that, when did you come here?

I moved here on the evening of December 30th 2007.

So you’ve seen a few changes in Berlin.

Yeah, you could say that.

So had you planned on pursuing your artistic interests in Berlin?

I never really made plans. I always had this thing, you know that a plan is just a list of things that don't happen. Maybe that was just a silly youthful saying or something like that. But yeah I was never like, this is what I am going to do, I was just doing stuff. Art was something that just made sense. And so I just ended up following it, but it wasn't until about five years ago that I really tried to start making something of it. It was all just development, I guess, before that. There was something that happened to me that kind of lit the fire under me a little bit and I asked myself where I felt good now and I felt good spray painting on walls and so I was like, ok let’s make that a thing then. So I started spray painting more and focussing on my art. Then I decided to become part of Let it Bleed and from there it just rolled. It was great.


So do you think that art or doing creative activity can provide a kind of life raft, a point of stability? 

Yeah, I think so. Art’s my way of exploring my emotions and my views of the world. Exploring whatever is happening and dealing with and processing what’s going on around me. So art is my way of doing that, I mean without that, then, I don’t know .... heavy therapy?


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