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FROM THE MAG: 'FROM VIRGINIA BEN'

ouou  发表于2016-04-20 09:16 │0 条评论   关注 0

An artist of his own making, 'From Virginia Ben' is known by many as a sneaker collector; it just so happens that a number of high profile collectors also play professional football. Having added his personal touch in creating shoes and boots for the likes of Karim Benzema through to Hector Bellerin, his connection with the game comes from a unique place.

An unquestionably likeable guy, it’s not hard to understand why the volume of eyes focusing on his work started to grow and in turn his passion for the art blossomed. “I've got a lot of self­belief. But I believe that when things happen, they just happen.” His processes unchanged, the journey is made to sound straightforward. “ I was experimenting with different styles of shoes – moving on to higher end ones, which were selling really well and that's when more individual clients starting coming in. I've not really forced anything, I've just done my own thing.”

His style matches his character, and the bright colours that breathe life into his studio are symbolic of his enthusiasm. “The thing is, I would still say I'm trying to find my style now. I do have some distinctive pieces that you can definitely tell are mine but I'd say that I'm still trying to find that."
FROM THE MAG:
Breaking the mould as well as the scene, it is with the paint still fresh and an array of colours drying that we tell Ben’s story. Tattooed knuckles carrying his alias, which is inspired by his mother’s name, he has finally given in to the football world by lending his talent to resurgent brand, Concave. He has linked up with the brand to create a limited edition collection that carries his markings on a 360 degree level, encompassing the entirety of a boot that will go out to market.

Having already collaborated with many brands from adidas through to Selfridges on sneaker projects, this partnership is something that could have potentially come sooner. But meticulous in the craft of his art, it was about finding the right project at the right time when it came to football. “I’ve always put it off because I didn’t know how it was all going to hold up. Concave came to me with their plan and I really liked the idea and the boot that they were providing me with to paint. It’s super clean so I knew it wouldn't disturb the art work at all.”

The gravity of the sentiment is something Ben is not shy in expressing. His bread and butter championed with the pitch being the final canvas, it is very much a milestone. “The fact that we’re actually turning the Concave boots into an official manufactured boot is crazy. Just seeing them all together, all one design, that’s amazing for me.”
FROM THE MAG:
Working with Hector Bellerin previously, the power of football and the impact on his life is something that took Ben by surprise. While he has painted for the cream of the crop, few things can offer such a wide and understanding audience than that of the game. “Football has opened a hell of a lot of doors for me. I never realised how much of my following would actually want a football boot.” The one­off boots that he created for Bellerin have been donated to the Heart4More Foundation, so his work has been able to engage with incredibly worthy causes, whilst decorating the collections of many.

Based in Manchester, this northern soul takes much inspiration from his city – Ben is a beacon for the creative north. Famed for its rich cultural and sporting cornerstones, it’s somewhere Ben holds close. “This place means everything. The more I’ve grown up, the more I’ve become proud to be from the north and from Manchester. Obviously, when you’re younger you don’t actually realise how much Manchester has done and what it means until you grow older. From the bands that have come from here, obviously the football teams, you realise what an amazing place this is.”

While football takes the stage, his collaborations are widespread – from cars to clothing you’ll be able to spot an FVB custom when you see one. Looking to the future, it’s there for the taking for this gent – the idea of exhibitions already on his mind. “I’ve toyed with that idea for so long because the way I see it, it would be like a musician without doing a concert.” Or, for us, a professional player never making his debut.

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