Inside

Ben Copperwheat

What’s you most memorable moment from your RCA student days?

I have a few, although I do particularly remember the Graduation ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall.  My parents were so proud!  The ceremony was magnificent.  I wore the printed kilt and bondage shirt from my collection underneath the robe.  It was quite a punk moment, especially going up to the podium and shaking Lord Snowden's hand.  He loved it!

Describe your current collection in five words

Gothic. Punk. Street. Contrast. Graphic.

Tell us about your RCA graduate show piece and where your creativity has taken you since leaving the RCA

My ethos was and still is rooted in punk.  A big inspiration at this time was the work of Vivienne Westwood and Zandra Rhodes.  I created a printed environment into the alcove gallery space.  Think printed wallpapers depicting news of the world text tartan, repeating micro pigs, a panoramic surreal London emblazoned with punk models wearing my collection floating on the Thames, printed pieces nailed to the wall and tube black lights electrifying the graphic prints in neon colours.

What’s your work ethic?

I feel in one way or another I am always working.  I have a live/work space in Brooklyn, so it is incredibly easy to dip in and out of screen printing, drawing, emails and design work. On the street I am always looking at people, architecture and nature.  Inspiration is all around, especially in New York, things change and evolve so quickly.

What do you love most about your area of work?

I love the freedom of expression of screen printing.  Printing can be applied to anything.  Clothing, interiors, home, art, architecture...  I feel I am just on the cusp of realizing my dream and vision.  This medium is allowing me to fulfil this.

Who’s your biggest icon? 

Andy Warhol.

What did you value most about the RCA?

The facilities and tuition.  The facilities as it gave me the chance to explore every avenue desired.  The tutors helped me to understand my ideas in context and realize them coherently.

What’s next?

I am working on a small fashion collection in black and white to be photographed and styled in black and white for Patricia Field Boutique, NYC.  This is different for me as I usually work in multicolour, with lashings of neon.  I am also working on a series of collaged and screen printed banners for a future fine art exhibit in NYC.

"The facilities at the RCA gave me the chance to explore every avenue desired. The tutors helped me to understand my ideas in context and realize them coherently." BEN COPPERWHEAT

MA PRINTED TEXTILES, 2001

Ben Copperwheat
Ben Copperwheat
Photographer: Walt Cessna