I met up recently with The Hill Street Country Club (HSCC) arts organization at Linksoul Lab to learn about efforts to build a stronger arts community in Oceanside. While there, I got to check out—and help unload— Ben Horton’s latest collection of mixed-media art, which is currently on view at Linksoul in his exhibition, Landline, presented by the HSCC.
Among the pulpy, vintage-ad-style paintings of men with multiple sets of eyes and intricate ink drawings of animals was a large-scale mixed-media piece, “As the Crow Flies,” which graces our cover this week. In the piece, the East County-based artist is commenting on how humans travel, not just physically but also emotionally.
He used a pallet found behind a grocery store as his canvas. The background is composed of vintage ads for cars, insurance and automobile maintenance in order to drive the point home. Please excuse the pun.
“The phrase ‘as the crow flies’ is about going from point A to point B in as straight of a line as possible, which is what a crow does because it makes sense,” explains Horton, who also owns $lave Skateboards. “This painting is about that, and about how we build roads and travel and how we rely on cars so much. We don’t really go in a straight line.”
He says that a secondary meaning for the metaphor is the difficulty in which people “get to the point.” Unlike nature, we tend to take a roundabout way to arrive at something.
Even though the piece has a specific message, Horton says most of his new collection of art doesn’t have an overriding theme. He prefers that the viewer draw up her or his own conclusion to each piece, especially since, for Horton, the meaning of each one changes constantly.
“A lot of times, even in my own art, I start reinterpreting it,” he says. “It’s crazy. Like, I have an idea, I do the art and then, after it’s done, I think it has a different idea than what I set out to do. And then sometimes I look at it another day and feel a completely different idea. There are three or four different directions it could go.”
Landline is on view through May 12. Stop by and form your own opinion.
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