Show: Venn Deer. Joel Benjamin.
Tell: “This image is the first in a short series of fully illustrated Venn diagrams, where moments of reaching across slight boundaries, to make a physical connection, are depicted.
“The initial inspiration for these illustrations was the various spins on the Venn diagram idea that I stumbled across online. I’d wanted to somehow depict the difference a physical connection can make in a relationship. Recently working on t-shirt and skateboard designs that only allow limited colour use sparked my interest in more limited palettes and bolder design choices. The Venn diagram format seemed to be perfect for the job.
“The greatest challenge was coming up with effective compositions that would fit into the two circles in each diagram. It was quite difficult to settle on the level of warmth and affection I wanted to display. The main idea was to show the connection and isolation between the two creatures simultaneously, so I didn’t want the overall tone to be too sentimental or cosy. I also deliberated far too much over which colours to use, but then I always do that.
“This illustration didn’t push my practice technically as it was quite straightforward to draw once the composition was settled on. Along with the rest of the series however, they were a great exercise in bringing to life a simple idea and applying it to a range of subject matter. Creating a series is always more fulfilling than just one standalone image. You have to be consistent and not allow yourself to lose interest. The best part is that upon completion is that you have a full little chapter to add to your portfolio.
“This particular illustration, and any other featuring deer that I make, owes a lot to Diego Velazquez. His Head of a Stag portrait has unending appeal to me; I always learn something new from looking at it. I found that taking classical references and applying them to modern visual ideas such as diagrams, makes for an interesting amalgamation and is something I’d like to continue exploring.”
Info: Joel Benjamin is a freelance illustrator who lives and works in Norwich, UK. His clients have included Coca Cola, Oxford University Press and Natmags.
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