It's All Inside

Backgroundcamel is the alias that Ben Gilchrist chooses to create their art under. The name is aptly taken from the name of the first band that Ben co-founded back in 2002, Camel Wrist, and is a tongue-in-cheek take on the literal background nature of being the band’s drummer.

Ben removes himself from the work he creates, inviting the viewer to take ownership and form their own interpretation. His intention is to create art that stands alone – exciting the senses. Although an advocate of the philosophy of art for art’s sake, he accepts the influences that his own morals and political viewpoints may have on his work. These are rarely apparent – often completely abstract in either image or title. He never pushes these themes on the viewer, merely leaving hidden clues for people to perhaps discover and ponder over themselves.

Backgroundcamel’s work tends to be bright, bold, geometric, and abstract. Simplifying a complicated world into flat shapes and brightening it up with the use of colour and contemporary materials; aspiring to bring a feeling of joy to the life of the viewer.

The artist prefers to make long-lasting work for public and private spaces, inspiring positivity in the people that occupy or pass through the space it inhabits. It is, of course, possible to bring the same joy to viewers in a gallery setting; however, exhibitions are not permanent, and he likens these opportunities to that of a musician’s tour, a fleeting interaction between artist and listener. Backgroundcamel prefers his work to have a more enduring home.

The abstract, geometric style of the work is heavily influenced by music, especially that of 8-bit/Chiptune. These are genres that use (or are influenced by) computer consoles to create their sound. The simple, unnatural beeping notes, together with the flashing bright lights and glow sticks that can often be seen at live performances, influence the bright, bold, undiluted, unnatural colours within Backgroundcamel’s artworks.

Backgroundcamel views the black lines in his works as the drumbeat of the piece - holding it together - and the colours reminiscent of notes that can be changed to create new compositions.

The title of each work is typically taken from lyrics of songs that were playing at the time the work was created.

Other influences include architecture (particularly Brutalism), stained glass, retro video games, and art movements such as Cubism, Pop Art, and De Stijl.

Based in the North East of England, Ben is a current MA Visual Art student at the University of Sunderland and a drummer in the instrumental Surf-Rock trio, The Milk Lizards.