Who is Ben Mendelewicz and what do you do???
I’m an artist and musician mostly.
Where did you grow up and what do you call home now?
I grew up in the US down in the state of Florida and I have been living in New York City for about 10 years.
What is the purpose/mission behind your work?
If theres any ‘mission’ It probably depends on the project. Most of the time its just to tell an interesting narrative. Probably while simultaneously being completely accepting and very critical of the subject.
Can you describe your artistic processes? How do you go about making the things you make??
I will either just write out a script or a premise and go from there, or i’ll collage with materials that i’ve collected from previous image searches. After that i’ll usually start compositing in photoshop. I’ll spend an exorbitant amount of time smoothing between textures of images with varying resolutions trying to get them as ‘real’ or seamless as i can which frequently has significant diminishing returns with regards to realism but i kind of love that…
Google image searches are a huge part of my process. Learning to talk in search parameter terms becomes a 2nd language to get what you need when it comes to stock photos. Ive had searches evolve to a point where my entire piece has changed because of where i ended up after the algorithm strung me around for so long.
You seem to have a fascination with the creepy and bizarre how does this translate into your work or is this just a coincidence?
Well, both coincidental and purposeful. I think it originally started out with my obsession with horror films. I couldn't really escape that format. Its just how I naturally continue to structure narratives in my work. Horror tropes, the “atmosphere.” etc..I think horror as a genre is a great template to insert whatever ideas you'd like into. Things conventionally accepted as non frightening are my favourite. The results are interesting to me. As far as “bizarreness” goes, it’s hard for me to look at my work through that perspective. I work on something for so long its hard to see it as anything but normal, but I think whatever uncomfortable quality comes out is usually because of the process I mentioned before. Reconstituting people, settings and situations through extensive image searching and collage is bound to end up kind of unsettling. It can only get so close after fed through a filter like that.
You studied at New York’s School of Visual Art’s did you enjoy studying there? What was the most important thing you learnt there?
I had my frustrations there for sure, but I met some of my closest friends and collaborators while in school. I think aside from all that i got at a foundational level, because i was in a department that was so strictly focused on comics, i got to see all these micro genres and entire universes of comics because of other students. i wouldn't have discovered them otherwise, i needed some ambassadors. Like very deep fan art and web comics. It was pretty inspirational. I don't think i appreciated it at the time but going to an art school, where a lot of the population/faculty was so technically oriented it probably helped me out quite a bit to see completely genuine work unconcerned with critique or anything.
What do you like to do when you are not busy creating I heard you are one part of a musical duo called Mucula Dog??
Yes I am part of the band Macula Dog. I work on the visual aspects of the groups performances plus graphics and design for the band and associated record label Haord Records. So I'm still creating :)
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently??
I saw a raccoon drop its coffee a couple months ago. I don’t have a very good memory though. Something else has probably happened since.
Your favourite place in the world and why???
Pardon my cornball but we have this music studio in our apartment right now; that and my computer desk are kind of my favourite places, i just bought this huge computer monitor from a guy named Brett…. That and probably Florida. I will always love it down there.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Download- Suni C
What makes you happy???
In New York city some union protesters have these giant inflatable rats they inflate in front of buildings to protest the use of nonunion workers. I love seeing a 6 story rat with red eyes standing in front of some startups headquarters. I will mention here that it was routinely standing outside of the School of Visual Arts.
What makes you sad????
Those rats also make me sad for the same reason.
One movie? One track? One book?
I guess i will go with most recent because picking the best stresses me out a little bit.
I watched a good movie i had never seen before. It’s a Todd Haynes film called Safe from 1995. Nice and bleak look at American suburban comfort in the 90s.
Lately been listening to The Groundhogs. I like the track Corn Cob. “I just feel like a corn that don't belong on the cob”
Currently reading: Radiotext(e)
Do you have any other fun collaborations/projects coming up you can share with us?
I just finished a comic for this comics anthology called Mould Map. This is their 7th installment and this time it is online only. It’s about real estate agents with subnormal implants and nose gages. I had a blast.