From Virginia Ben Interview
Ben Daye grew up in Manchester and turned his hobby into a career. Not only do we love his work, we've even produced a limited edition run of our Volt + boot with his unique design and input to celebrate artistry at it's finest. With Ben specializing in custom footwear designs it was a perfect fit and the outcome speaks for itself...
My Mum is called Virginia, so I'm from Virginia & I'm Ben...
Ben, what was it like growing up in Manchester?
I loved growing up in Manchester, it's a great hub for the north. I developed a fonder liking the older I got! It very much shaped me into who I am.
What got you into art and where did it all begin?
I take most of my art inspiration, from a younger age, from one of my older sisters, she always seemed to do things differently and create her own things from clothing to accessories. I guess that's where it started and then I developed a love for graffiti with my friends. The wanting to look further into art came from there.
When did you start to think that art could be a career for you?
When I worked in Foot Locker for a month and wanted out, haha! No disrespect to Foot Locker, I just knew I wanted to be a creative, of some sort and have total freedom within my chosen field. Art seemed the only way to do this.
What inspires you?
I take a lot of inspiration from things I see around me and current trends. Seeing other artists create always inspires me to get in the studio and make more things.
Where did the name come from?
The name came around, actually, a few years ago. My Mum is called Virginia, so I'm from Virginia & I'm Ben... I don't think it was actually me who thought of the name. I'm sure it was my friend! Most people think it's something to do with the state in America, but it really isn't.
Take us through customizing a shoe and the steps from start to finish...
It's actually pretty straight forward the shoe process, or so it seems to me anyway. It's a prep process which is to strip the shoe of its factory coat, then tape off the areas that you don’t want paint to hit, then just hit it with the design. All pairs take different times, I can never really say how long something will take.
What music do you listen to? Favourite artist? Does listening to music affect your art?
I listen to a variety of music! From The Righteous Brothers to Rick Ross, (I wanted to compare two R named artists there...) but my favourite artists are Kanye & James Blake, amongst many others including my Dad, who had a number one single himself in the 70s. I wouldn't say it effects my work as such, but maybe my mood. I mean if you’re listening to a rapper talking about getting money, I'll glue to the desk and get money, haha! But I paint because I love it and the money is just a bonus.
What drew you towards working with Concave?
I loved the brand's individuality when I was introduced to it! The tendency to stand on its own and not be like everyone else, in the market, is how I try to portray myself as an artist and you guys personally are all great guys and it's always a bonus to work with good people, who allow you freedom on the product at hand.
What inspired the design of the Concave x fromvirginiaben boot?
The design is an original one of mine. Something you will know is mine, without having to be told and once it was on the boot itself, it just fit perfectly.
How does it feel to have your own limited edition boot?
Unreal! I mean painting on shoes is one thing but to have something manufactured is just something I didn't think would happen anytime soon. The response I've had has just been unreal too and people have only seen snippets of it.
What kind of people have you done artwork for before?
Many kinds of people, from celebrities, to some of the best sports stars in the world and the good old working class like myself. I don't really like to name drop as I personally know I've done it and that's good enough for me.
What's your favourite piece of work and why?
It has to be the Mercedes G63 I painted and why? Because it's a 140,000 pound, plus, car that I was allowed full freedom to do what I want with. It was an amazing opportunity and I feel it really pushed my boundaries. I'm just waiting to paint a yacht now, haha!
What does the future hold for Ben?
Who knows? I just hope I can keep prospering within my field. I just want to get to the top and stay there and with hard work, I'm confident it can happen.
Any tips for aspiring creatives out there?
Stay original! That's it... Allow yourself full reign on whatever you do and don't let anyone tell you that you can't and when they tell you that your work is sh*t, just rub it in there face a little more!