Computer Arts (www.computerarts.co.uk) ran a profile of Ben Fishman in their January 2001 issue. It is reprinted here with permission.
Clients include: The New York Times, TV Guide, U.S. News and World Report, Business Week, The NY Daily News, Scholastic, Klutz, Nickelodeon, Peachpit Press, and many more.
Artifish, Inc. is the brainchild of Ben Fishman, who specializes in illustration and design. Educated in Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design, Ben became an illustrator after working in the art department of a computer magazine.
He was a finalist for a Maggie Award in 1996, and in 1998, his cover for Presbyterians Today won an award for Best Cover of a religious magazine. His cover illustration for Pacific Sun received an Honorable Mention in the 2005 AltWeekly awards.
Ben's digital collage work was featured in Computer Arts magazine in 2001 (reprinted here), and in the October 2004 issue of SBS Digital Design.
Ben lives in upstate New York with his wife, Julia, and their children, Kate and Noah.
Below is a profile of Ben's digital collage work that appeared in Computer Arts magazine, reprinted here with permission. To link to Computer Arts’ website, go to www.computerarts.co.uk
COMPUTER ARTS MAGAZINE, January 2001 Profile: Ben Fishman
Ben mixes historical imagery and vivid color: “The brightness and intense color are a natural part of the way I make images...”
“While in school, I had no preconception about making it in the art world; I studied art because I was passionate about it,” explains Ben Fishman. This passion has since brought him commisions from a number of prestigious clients, including Business Week, The New York Daily News, and Nickelodeon.
This San Francisco-based freelance illustrator’s roots are buried deeply within traditional techniques. Specializing in sculpture, he completed a five-year dual-degree program in Fiction Writing and Fine Art. It was here that he discovered his love for sculptural collages and montages—something he has now carried over to his digital art.
The transition from traditional to digital artist was easy for Ben. After moving from New York to San Francisco, he was offered a production job on Network Magazine thanks to his QuarkXPress knowledge. It didn’t take long to make a colorful impression: “My role eventually expanded to assigning the illustrations to freelancers each month. Periodically, I would do some myself. The magazine then paid for me to take a Photoshop course, and I started working digitally, scanning materials and making collages.”
Photoshop appealed to Ben becasue it brought with it the capacity to change everything extremely quickly. “Working by hand I would have to start a project all over again if the client wanted changes, so going digital was a big advantage,” he explains. “The ability to change colors and modify the shapes and sizes of scanned imagery was also a big plus.” After about two years he gave up his magazine job and set out as a freelancer.
Ben draws his main inspirations form old toys, photos and material he finds in the local antique store: “So many of the elements I use, whether they’re toy robots, dinosaurs, or toy soldiers, conjure up a return to that childhood phase where the inner world was full of fantasy and excitement,” he enthuses. “I’ve also often wondered where my interest in bright color comes from, but I think it may have something to do with an early obsession with comic books, which were full of intense bright colors, as well as fantastic worlds.”
Ben is also very interested in this world, historical events playing a big part in his work. From class struggles to war, Ben juxtaposes his vivid colors with striking, and occasionally shocking imagery. “It’s a real balancing act to make the compositions succeed despite the chaos. What interests me about my work is that the chaotic images are done in such bright colors—there’s a duality between the image and its brightness, like a happy despair,” he says.
Working in Photoshop, Ben creates his eclectic imagery with the help of a UMax S-6E scanner, a Zip drive, CD-burner, and occasionally Illustrator.
So what are Ben’s plans for the future? “I’d like to break into other markets besides editorial work. But for the moment I want to meet more illustrators, and eventually get more involved with helping to improve professional issues that face illustrators.”