Ben Fenton will be showing his work at Reste, 58 High Street, Hastings, and various other venues over the course of Coastal Currents Festival. Talking about the show at Reste, The Art of a Natural Home, Ben says:

“I come from Dungeness, the only desert in the UK. A place where the land is as flat as the sea and both are pressed down upon by the weight of a leaden sky. A place where life and living is dictated by the elements and there is nowhere to shelter from its extremes.

I suffer from mental illness, and I believe the parallels are impossible to ignore. My life has been battered and roughly hewn into the shape it is in by the unrelenting and corrosive tide of depression and anxiety. It has gradually stripped away my worth and desire like the shingled coastline of my home.

Painting is what keeps me going, and it is what brings both together – my illness and the vistas that mirror it. When I am stood before a canvas, stained in oil paint and fizzing with purpose, it is the only time that my hound, my wretched black dog, quietens down. I am, whilst in my studio, for as long as I work, master of my erratic existence. I am in charge of creating and manipulating the images of the lands I grew up in, and still inhabit, that reflect the illness that wants to cut my life short.

I believe there’s a beautiful, rather twisted serendipity to the process. One that is finely balanced but imperative to my life. I hope that others find a beauty in it too.”

See website for best dates to attend – reste.co.uk/pages/coastal-currents-art-festival. Ben is also involved in: People and Place at The Observer Building (see above); a group show at Rogue Gallery Studios, 62 Norman Road, St Leonards on Sea on the weekend of 7th / 8th September; and has an open studio at Common Mormon Studios, 2a Mount Pleasant Road, Hastings on the same weekend (7th / 8th September). His work will also be included in the inaugural Grand Coastal Postcard Hunt. 

Take a look on the website and see what you can find… coastalcurrents.org.uk/grandcoastalpostcardhunt


We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.