When he was younger man, illustrator Ben Evans, AKA ben is right, spent a lot of time sneaking bong rips in friends’ bedrooms. That’s why when he goes to draw one of his colorful weed smoking portraits, he starts with small studies of interior settings like bedrooms and bathrooms which he says, “have an inescapable rawness about them that feels like an extension of the figures themselves… There’s so much time and life that we put into our personal spaces and the places we feel most comfortable within.” Evans’s work has a similar illustrative style to the lax, whimsical drawings of artist Polly Nor. His familiar environments and the relatable characters that fill them resemble children’s story cartoons with post-undergrad flair.
After his compositional studies, Evans chooses an interior he likes and starts to mess around with it by skewing the perspective and moving objects around in the room. Evans says when he creates a scene, he tries to build these spaces to not resemble something directly, but instead suggest a familiar space to anyone. “In that way, these works turn the viewer into a voyeur looking into something vaguely relatable,” he tells Creators over email. The women, or non-gender-binary figures in any of his works lend themselves to the audience in a way that suggests that it could be anyone doing these everyday activities at home, whether it’s “taking some midday dabs, lighting a spliff, or drinking ketchup, isolated from their surroundings.”
Evans says the presence of weed in his artwork serves as a bridge for him, allowing him to make the art more colloquial and less serious. “Most everyone I know smokes weed. Some of my best friendships have come from smoking a ‘J’ with someone in a bedroom or a bathroom.” Weed can insert a certain familiarity to these intimate situations while still allowing for a good amount of dark humor to come through.
A lot of Evans’s inspiration has been coming from real estate advertisements for websites like StreetEasy, a company that has recently adopted an illustrative ad campaign. As far as artists go, Evans says he has been looking at a lot of Peter Saul, David Hockney, and Tom Wesselmann, who have all been vitally influential on his color palette and in the way he composes his scenes.
Check out more of Evans’s uninhibited weed-works below: