British artist Ben Long works in a wide variety of mediums from billboards to dust drawings, to massive sculptures made out of scaffolding.
Using his finger to scribe into the layer of dirt built-up from exhaust emissions, Long creates elaborate drawings on the rear shutters of white haulage trucks. In this on-going series, collectively entitled The Great Traveling Art Exhibition, he expands upon the daubing and crude slogans that commonly adorn commercial freight vehicles.
By conceiving the project so that it may exist beyond the confines of the traditional gallery space, The Great Traveling Art Exhibition fulfilled Long’s desire to target and appeal to individuals unreceptive to the presentation of contemporary art in museums and art institutions. Furthermore, as a project born of pragmatic concerns, it enabled the artist to exercise creative expression early-on in his career without the need for a studio, gallery or financial backing.
Long’s Scaffolding sculptures are Inspired by his experiences working on building sites as a teenager, the project asserts the value of a disciplined working practice, the hard graft of manual employment and celebrates the role the construction industry plays in the advancement of urban development.
Thematically, Scaffolding Sculptures utilize cultural archetypes familiar in domestic and decorative art, whilst also making reference to art historical imagery such as Monarch of the Glen by Sir Edwin Landseer and Whistlejacket by George Stubbs. With each artwork the base structure serves to visually reinforce the sculptural intent of the project, making comparisons with the plinth, as well as reminding the viewer of a conventional use of scaffolding based on the familiar right-angle and cross bracing process.