Lokal Creators / Benjamin Murphy

Benjamin Murphy, born in West Yorkshire, is a globally exhibiting visual artist. His current work explores themes of polarity, time, memory, and contrast – often rendered in charcoal on raw canvas. He is the co-founder and co-director of Delphian Gallery, and is an associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London. We visited his studio in Helsinki just before he set up his Lokal White Wall exhibition, Éanáir. 

Lokal Creators / Benjamin Murphy

Benjamin Murphy, born in West Yorkshire, is a globally exhibiting visual artist. His current work explores themes of polarity, time, memory, and contrast – often rendered in charcoal on raw canvas. He is the co-founder and co-director of Delphian Gallery, and is an associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London. We visited his studio in Helsinki just before he set up his Lokal White Wall exhibition, Éanáir.

What are some of the things that inspire your creative process?

Benjamin Murphy: “This is such a hard question to answer because almost everything can inspire the work in some way. Since I moved to Finland the work has become a lot more informed by Finland and Finnish culture than it was before, and this has in turn made me feel at once very Finnish, as well as being more connected to my Irish and Scottish heritage somehow. “

What are some important principles and themes in your work?

B.M.: “I like to try and encapsulate some kind of contradiction or dichotomy in the work, so for this show much of the subject matter is quite delicate and beautiful, but rendered in a medium that I need to be quite rough with, almost violent. Charcoal on raw canvas is a pretty unforgiving medium and it needs a lot of heavy, aggressive mark making, so to be drawing something as delicate as flowers with this kind of approach is quite interesting to me.”

What brought you to working with charcoal? What significance does material have in your practice?

B.M.: “My work before was quite delicate, clean, and precise. Once I decided the need for my practice to evolve I sought out a medium that was essentially the opposite of all of these things; it’s chaotic, messy, and imprecise, and a welcome change to what I was doing before. It’s not a medium I had had much experience with before, so I enjoy learning by doing and forcing myself to innovate through this self-limitation.”

Shop: Benjamin Murphy’s Works

Explore: Lokal Creators

Lokal Creators / Sini Villi

Sini Villi is a textile artist living and working in Helsinki, Finland. In her work Villi uses handmade ribbon to create three-dimensional textile reliefs and sculptures. We visited her Helsinki studio on a summer afternoon just after she’d set up her White Wall exhibition, Ammonites.

Lokal Creators / Fanny Tavastila

Fanny Tavastila is a painter who lives and works in Helsinki. We visited her studio at the Cable Factory one dark November afternoon to get a closer look at her works, which posess an innate and lyrical sense of colour, rhythm, texture and composition.

Lokal Creators / Hanni Koroma

Hanni Koroma is an award-winning Finnish interior architect and furniture designer. In her work, Koroma combines functionality and aesthetics into timeless entities where her philosophic values in sustainable and playful design meet. Koroma says that space is like a poem that evolves constantly. Her new Lohkoja cabinets are centrepieces of our summer exhibition Butterflies & Seeds. 

Lokal Creators / Minna Arponen

Minna Arponen is a jewellery designer and maker from Helsinki. Recently, she’s been fascinated by the tiny glass beads that she used to play with in her childhood. We visited her studio where most of her pieces take form, if not in her lap on tram rides through the city.