We had the good fortune of connecting with Benjamin McVey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Benjamin, why did you pursue a creative career?
I have always been drawn to art making. As a young boy, I used to sit at my grandmother’s kitchen table on weekend mornings drawing for hours while she sipped her coffee and read the newspaper. I knew I wanted to be creative for a living, so when I went to college I chose Communication/Graphic Design as my major. Fine arts classes were required and I found myself spending a lot of outside time working on studio projects. After graduation, I reluctantly left the studio behind to pursue my career as an art director in advertising. Five years went by before I seriously drew again. While living and working in New York City, a friend suggested that I sign up for an art class at the Art Students League. I found that I still had a natural ability for drawing and my desire to learn more grew. And I wanted to paint. Not long after, I was taking more classes at The League and eventually left my full-time advertising job, only taking freelance assignments so I wouldn’t starve. The more I drew and painted on my own, and in classes, the more I knew that I wanted to be a full-time artist. I enjoyed advertising, but felt that at the end of my day I hadn’t truly created anything that added value to the world. I wanted my creativity and ideas to be used for things I felt more passionate about.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Some lessons I have learned along the way are stay focused but always leave some wiggle room, learn to listen to and believe your instincts, make mistakes not excuses, and don’t do anything just for the money, as a creative, you’ll be miserable.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hikes, walks, museums, galleries, and cozy locally owned eateries and bars. I like to walk, so areas that have a lot to offer in close vicinity to each other Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to all of my art and art history professors, colleagues, and artist peers who have directly and indirectly influenced me through their own knowledge, growth, explorations, and will power to pursue this never dull and always challenging life in art.