The creativity of author, designer, broadcaster Ben Arogundade
Working in the mediums of graphic design, photography, digital retouching and AI
THIS IS MY WEBSITE’s creative signature — my version of a stamp or personal seal that represents me and my work. I took a rough photo of my hand and then messed around with it in my graphics software until I got something I liked.
THERE ARE THREE TRILLION trees on Earth — and each one is special. No two are the same. How can this much original beauty exist within a single strand of nature? What mysterious, invisible, creative magic is at work?
The startling beauty of this particular specimen is located in Friston Forest, East Sussex, England. I spend a lot of my time there, walking and contemplating the manner in which nature helps us find our nature.
TWO IMAGES from a series of self-portraits taken during lockdown. The photographs were heavily retouched until they took on the texture of paintings.
BOOK PREVIEW: oyster shell relics from the English Channel make incredible canvasses for the kinetic creativity of the ocean, as wave-after-wave of seawater sculpts, colours and erodes their surfaces. Are such images random, or are they the work of water spirits? Find out in my forthcoming book, ‘Art of the Ocean’.
TWO SPREADS I designed for EXTRACT — a magazine I founded and edited in the late 1990s. Instead of celebrity profiles it focused on interviews with life’s unknown characters from around the world.
THE CREATIVITY OF NATURE is incredible. This video reveals the art created by the relentless motion of seawater as it works its magic on an oyster shell relic in the shallows of the Eastbourne coastline, in southern England.
THIS IMAGE IS from a project entitled ‘eBay Masks’. I went online and bought as many weird masks as I could find on eBay. It’s amazing what people sell on the site. With this silver mask I created this dystopian, futuristic scene of a faceless man, his humanity erased. In truth, the idea seems more current than futuristic.
EVERY SUNDAY morning I embark upon a long nature walk. I love this picturesque scene of a cottage in Alfriston, East Sussex. The thatched roof of the house is beautifully perched, like a hat; and the garden, stone wall, path, hedges and sky give the whole thing an irresistible allure.
NATURE IS ENDLESS in its beauty and creativity. Look at how these reeds flutter elegantly as they are gently pushed by the breeze, against a backdrop of ocean and sky.
THIS IS ONE OF the spreads I created for a limited edition, super-sized book on the history of New York City. Published by Gloria Books (now closed) I was editor and creative director on the title. It is a mammoth collection consisting of 100,000 words, 1,500 photographs and 800 pages.
IS WATER ALIVE? How can an element that is so active, so filled with the energetics of movement, not be? For many centuries sages and religious teachers have spoken of water as being imbued with spirit. This is the reason it is used so much within religious ceremonies. But is it true? Have we misunderstood what water really is?
ART COLLABORATION This new portrait of me was painted by renowned Polish-born artist Malgosia Stepnik. Her uniquely vibrant and colourful style, which she describes as an “energy explosion” was meticulously applied to a photo of my face. Discover more about Stepnik’s work here.
BEAUTY CAN BE FOUND in the strangest places — even within the urban, mechanistic functionality of the London Underground. I took this quick iPhone picture through the window of a Tube carriage as the train pulled into the station.
THIS IS ‘PELE’, a limited edition, super-sized photo-biography of the late Brazilian football legend. Published by Gloria Books (now closed) I was editor and creative director on the title. Two years in the making, it contains 720-pages, 1,700 illustrations and weighs 16kgs. Only 2,500 copies were made, each one signed by Pele.
WHO MADE THESE MASTERPIECES? I bought them secondhand from an Oxfam shop in London’s Kentish Town, for £20. They were sitting in the window as I walked by. It was a real Cinderella moment when I tried them on and they actually fit. I have never seen a design like it, with that bold painterly swoosh. I think they are from the 70s. When I was a kid we used to call this type of footwear “African man shoes” — they’re the kind of thing my Nigerian uncles would wear with their safari suits when they came to visit. They look so stylish. Why aren’t men’s shoes made like this now?
He was curious about who she was in her private life. He wanted to know something about her sexually, any detail — a clue about the way she might move when he was inside her, or the muted rush of her breath as she reached orgasm. Right now it was a secret fantasy, but the thought of making it real excited him. He craned forward slowly, in an exploratory manner, and kissed her gently. She responded, but her technique was loose and child-like. The muscles in her lips showed none of the contractions that give kissing its taut beauty. His mouth, searching for the reflex in hers, floundered in the space. Back in the days when his mouth was rough and dumb, he didn’t care what a kiss was, only that he was kissing, that he was participating in sex, or at least its prelude. But things were different now. He leaned away, back into his own space, muffling his disappointment. He was having second thoughts now about sex with her, if this sample was any indicator of what was to come.
THIS IS AN EXCERPT OF SEXUAL writing from my debut novel, The Sexual Language of Strangers. Novelists often shy away from describing sex, but in my story I wanted to experiment with making these encounters more detailed and poetic, almost as standalone pieces.
BOOK PREVIEW: this image was not painted by human hand. It was AI-generated. I simply entered certain keywords, called ‘prompts’ into the AI’s browser, and seconds later, this painting appeared. Should this new technology be feared or welcomed? Find out in my forthcoming book.
© Arogundade, London Town 2023: Registered Office: 85 Great Portland Street, First Floor, London W1W 7LT