Ben Playle is a designer, artist and maker of fine furniture. He uses hand cut stencils and spray paint to create multi layered pictures. These range from simple three layered studies to more complex and many layered fine art stencils, some of which take weeks to cut. With over twenty years of fine wood working, he applies this experience in the manufacture of precision stencils. Ben spent many years as an artist and furniture maker in Southern and East Africa before moving to New York City – and more recently to Amman.
Immersing himself in his environment, Ben creates his pieces through close observation of the country in which he lives. Ben’s style continues to develop and evolve as he explores different subjects and materials, his work a cross pollination of fine art landscapes and the use of refined street art techniques.
A modern interpretation of David Roberts’ Lithographs (part 1)
British artist, Ben Playle takes a look at David Roberts’ classic and renowned lithographs giving them a 21st Century update with his interpretation.
In September of 1838, David Roberts, a Scottish artist with no formal training arrived in Alexandria, spending the next 12 months touring and sketching Egypt, Nubia, Jordan, the Holy land and Lebanon.
In Jordan, he sketched the lost city of Petra, which though well known to the Bedouin, was largely hidden to the wider world. With agreement of a local tribe, he was permitted to camp within Petra for five days. Within this time, he managed to complete sketches that would later be worked up in to 14 finished lithographs.
Over the next few years, sketches from Robert’s tour of the Middle East were worked up into a set of large-scale volumes which contained over 240 lithographs. David’s work shared scenes of life in the Middle East that had not been previously seen in Europe. As a result of this success, he became a well-known landscape and architectural artist.
Ben Playle was inspired by David Robert’s lithographs, which show the architecture detail of Petra alongside everyday scenes of rural life. The original 19th century lithographs were black prints on an off-white background. However, many collectors later commissioned artists to add colour.
What started off as a stenciling challenge, has turned into a modern interpretation of David Robert’s masterpieces. Ben’s aim was to capture the light and shadow of the original lithographs, whilst bringing a fresh colour palette and new depths to these intricate scenes. He recreated the soft colour washes of the original pictures with the light touch of a spray can, cutting up to ten layers for each stencil and using over twenty colours.