Ben Tunbull is a British contemporary pop artist whose work is informed by Americana. Creating art from comic books into collages, satirical works based on children’s toys and objects, and hand carved pieces.
Turnbull’s work is self described as ‘Angry Pop’. – Raising questions of harsh truths whilst targeting difficult subjects. Associating characters and narratives from popular media the work reflects a more honest interpretation of American social/political themes.
Following on from ‘American History X – Volume 1 – The Death Of America’ Turnbull’s hugely successful 2014 show, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is an undiluted take on the lone teen shooter phenomenon which has haunted the U.S for at least half a century.
Guns & weapons are beautifully and intricately hand carved into vintage school desks. The carvings and etchings are engrained in violence on bubble gum stained desktops taking us on an uneasy journey into the competitive nature of an American High School disease.
The immaculate design and hand crafted works employed in the show reveal hidden truths of U.S gun policies literally sunk into the graffiti strewn material. Tackling repetitive themes from the ‘Texas clock tower sniper’, up until the ‘Sandy Hook tragedy’, the exhibition highlights the horrendous reality and regularity of these shocking crimes.
Born in 1974 in London, Turnbull is self-taught. As a child Ben found escape through comic books which heavily influenced his future art his art. His first visit to the U.S was in 2008. His rationale behind his U.S obsession: ”We were poor. I never thought I’d get to go there. I guess I thought I’d make my own version of America instead.”