Whitley Bay-based Ben Holland is an illustrator who creates works of art with pencil and pen drawings of North East landmarks; whether they’re iconic sculptures such as the Angel of the North or hidden Newcastle gems such as the Trent Pub.
In fact, Ben loves to draw a pub whether said pub is located in the centre of the Toon, on the Quayside or in the achingly cool Ouseburn Valley! Having started out primarily using black and white, Ben’s work has become more colourful over the years by using vintage inspired colourways to highlight the architectural brilliance and stunning beauty of the surrounding local area.
Ben has supplied his fine prints to Baltic Shop for a lot of years and his work is consistently in our bestselling category. And, even though one of his works is named ‘It’s Grim Up North’, the tongue is placed firmly in the cheek, as Ben's illustrations highlight how lucky we are to live up north and call this place our home.
Even though we've worked with Ben for many a year, with thought it was time to find out more about him!
"I'm a self taught artist and have drawn pictures for as long as I can remember. My mum was a big advocate of drawing on whatever was to hand when I was a kid... envelopes, backs of cereal boxes... her only rule was "no colouring books!". I've just never really kicked the habit.
I've always loved architecture, from Art Deco cinemas to Norman Cathedrals to beaten up old barbers shops. Anywhere that has been built with a loving attention to detail generally does it for me - so in the North East I'm spoilt for choice. Whether it be drawing the bridges, the Angel, Grey Street... the 'to do list' is endless.
Around 2010 I was a bit directionless in terms of a career. I liked drawing but figuring out how to make a living out of it was an entirely different proposition. I started to concentrate on pen work and soon had enough of a collection of local buildings to start a market stall. For years I did as many markets and mini exhibitions as I could. When Baltic accepted some of my work to sell in the shop it was - and continues to be - a real highlight.
I'm originally from the North West but having lived in the North East for over 20 years this is most definitely the place I now call home. I look forward to continuing to draw its architectural gems for many years to come."