In the spirit of Halloween, Ben Newman has allowed us to re-publish an interview we did with him in the autumn of 2009. Below you’ll find Ben’s musings on monsters and embarrassing costumes. Enjoy!
Think of the scariest monster possibleâ€¦. What does it look like?
I decided to talk to my friend and Bento Bestiary collaborator, Scott James Donaldson, about just how scary the scariest monster would be and this is the most terrifying thing we could think of. Seasoned with a healthy dose of Scottâ€™s wizardry words and starting from the feet up this hideous beast looks as follows; A foot comes into focus. But something is wrong. The toes are backward. Twisted. Dirty. Try the other foot. This is worse. A pigeonâ€™s stub-leg replaces a conventional human foot. Urgh. Above, skin-slit legs expose shiny shins, leading upward, to a pair of incredibly overdeveloped thighs. These behemoths collide betwixt a miniscule pair of damp, flannel swimming under-trunks.
The flaccid upper torso is comprised solely of reclaimed cows udders, stitched together with bass-guitar strings and rosebushes. Flanking this nightmare, a pair of Tyrannosaurus Rex arms, incapable of a firm handshake. Perching astride two rugged shoulders, we are greeted with a terrible visage. Twin crystal meth diamonds scowl in our direction. An enormous, warty beak honks at us, revealing a lone, rotten peg-tooth.
This unlucky dip of features nestles beneath a blanketed veil of silken, wonderful, candyfloss hair. Its crowning glory: a 1980â€™s vintage black and white yin/yang bandana, blazing proudly across its clammy forehead. He has, on several occasions, been mistaken for acting powerhouse, Steven Segal.
Monsters seem to be a running theme in your work, is there a reason for this?
Since I was a child, Iâ€™ve found monsters to be endlessly fascinating and I think this because of the unhealthy amount of cartoons and comic books I watched/read. Iâ€™ve always found myself more aesthetically drawn to the villains because they appear as an imperfection of the hero, similar to looking in a circus mirror. You can cover them in hair, enlarge their brains, sharpen their claws, cross their eyes and I donâ€™t think I could get bored of making them look as stupid or as terrifying as possible.
Tell us something scary
When I was nine, I was told that someone once went to eat a Topic chocolate bar and when they took the first bite it was really crunchy. Curiously, they looked down and saw a bloody, severed mouseâ€™s head nested in the chocolaty fruit and nut centre. I believed this story for so long that I didnâ€™t eat a Topic bar until my twenties, turns out their pretty good and now I buy them when Iâ€™m feeling dangerous.
What are you dressing up as this Halloween?
I own an all in one Spiderman suit from Hong Kong so it acts as my default fancy dress costume when I donâ€™t have time to be very imaginative at Halloween. The problem I have with the costume is that once zipped up it pulls the lycra very tightly over the crotch, leaving very little to the imagination. The sight of my shiny, vacuum packed, lycra covered nether regions offend my Dad so much that he draped an apron over my neck to cover up my indecency. As you can tell itâ€™s a very scary costume so Iâ€™ll probably be dressing up in that again this year, if not then Iâ€™ll dress up as the monster described above.
Trick or Treat?
Iâ€™d have to go for trick as Iâ€™ve usually eaten all the sweets by the time someone knocks at the door.