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Ben Woodhams

About the artist

Ben Woodhams is an English artist and illustrator currently living and working on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. After working in museums and art galleries as an exhibition curator and designer, Ben and his family moved to Bornholm in 2008, where he now works full time as an artist, illustrator and educator.

Ben’s practice is founded in direct observation and is often focussed on birds and their activities in the landscape, working primarily in watercolour. Studies of living birds are made in the field, while dead birds are taken to the studio. Moments in time, and the relationship between the process of observation and depiction, are the engines that drive Ben’s work – the tension between the ‘need’ to capture the moment or the vision, and the desire to let the medium speak its own language.

Recently Ben has been studying changes in the landscape through space and time. Through 2018 he walked around the island of Bornholm every Friday, in 52 stages – the work produced is the KYST Project, from which a book and several exhibitions resulted. Over the last couple of years Ben has also been making site-specific land art interventions, which involve moving or altering parts of the environment (ice, leaves, stones, and so on) into the shape of an anamorphic rectangle, which is then photographed from a specific vantage point. More recently Ben has been documenting changes in the landscape over time in the form of several watercolour squares on one sheet of paper.

Ben lives with his family on a ten-acre smallholding - two fields and a wood - which he is in the process of rewilding and encouraging biodiversity. In 2015 Ben was invited to become an Artist Member of the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) with whom he participated in several projects in England, Turkey and Denmark. In 2019, Ben was awarded the Birdwatch Artist of the Year award at the Natural Eye Exhibition and the TV2 Bornholm Culture Prize. In 2020 Ben received the RSBP award at the Natural Eye exhibition. 

’’…I often feel the need to create some sort of structure or framework within which to work - the forced imposition of rules seems to give me some sort of freedom from making superfluous choices, and concentrate on changes, and how to deal with them and depict them... for me my work is about connecting meaningfully to my environment - and birds often allow me a ‘way in’…’’

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