Interview with Benjamin Marra
We love the work of Canadian-born, New York raised illustrator, Benjamin Marra. We asked him about it recently. There’s a dark thread to your work. There appears to be layers of storylines beneath the surface — and not all of them pleasant. Fair call? ‘Definitely a fair call, though the darkness isn’t something that I’m aware of when I’m making a drawing. There’s a lot of violence for sure — explosions, battle-axes, guns, babes, broads, dames, cars, demons, and blades. I’m indulging my adolescent self in drawing that stuff. While it’s all external subject matter, I’m sure whatever cynical feelings I have about the world creep in without me knowing. You know, like, when you walk in darkness, you don’t see the shadows. Word. That sounds like a Danzig lyric, doesn’t it? My buddies and I caught his show last Saturday. Amazing. Amazing. That guy is 52! He busted up his shoulder in Baltimore falling off the stage and had his arm in a sling the entire show. But I’ve seen him three times and he sounded the best this time around’.
Your illustrations are mind-blowing. How do you know when one is finished? What’s the trigger to let it go? ‘Thanks, man. An illustration is pretty much finished when the deadline hits, the art director pries it out of your hands and publishes it. I don’t usually know when an illustration is finished. When I’m working on stuff for myself, I’ll go back to things weeks or months later and add stuff. There are times when I’m working on something and I don’t know how next to proceed. That’s the trigger. I almost always know what I’m going to do next in a drawing because I get inspired by what I’m working on while I’m drawing. So when I don’t know what to do next, I’ll stop. But then again, sometimes that’ll be how the drawing ends and sometimes I’ll go back later. Sometimes other people tell me a drawing is done’.