Benjie Cluness

What’s your background?

I grew up in Shetland, an archipelago that lies more than 100 miles north of mainland Scotland. I moved to Glasgow to study and have lived here for almost ten years. I studied Communication Design at the Glasgow School of Art, specialising in graphic design. Despite studying design my practice developed to be primarily film based and ‘arty’. During my time at GSA the Com Des course was very accommodating to my desire to produce art films rather than conventional graphic design.

What influences you artistically?

I’m primarily influenced by popular culture. I tend to read quite a bit of theory, but in terms of what shapes the intention of my work and how it is delivered aesthetically I am more concerned with Hollywood blockbusters, music videos and The Simple Life. I’m interested in forms of entertainment and art that are accessible and populist and I am making a conscious move toward making work that doesn’t require the viewer to have a grounding in critical theory, but can still elicit an emotional response.

How do you start a new work?

I usually have a number of projects on the go at any one time and the majority of these never come to fruition. This is usually due to time and/or financial constrictions, my ambitions are grand but my pockets are empty.

Studying design rather than fine art taught me how to navigate deadlines and produce work quickly. I tend to spend most of my time ruminating on an idea and then – once the pressure to complete something builds – create the work quickly.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I’m making clothes. I’m still unsure where this fits in my practice, there’s a conceptual slant to the pieces I’m producing but I’m also keen to create garments that are desirable and marketable too.

I’m also working on a collaborative project with 3 artists that I greatly admire; Luca George, Gary Zhexi Zhang, and Racheal Crowther. We are each producing a video that will synchronise to form an immersive, nose-bleed of an installation.