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“Transcending the Material” – interview with Ben Cuevas

Transcending the Material

It’s here! Ben Cuevas’s amazing hand-knit skeleton is now quietly meditating at Knit Culture Studio! It if weren’t for its mindful repose, you might expect it to get up and start chasing you around – is is that lifelike! We’re all in awe of the patience and spatial reasoning involved and had to learn more about the piece, so I asked Ben to tell us a bit more about his art. Here’s what he said:


Which bones were the most difficult to engineer?

BC: I’d say the vertebrae were the most difficult. Each one is different and they’re all so intricate. Plus there’s so many of them! There’s was definitely a moment when I was working on the spine when I thought it’d never end.

What kind of fiber did you use?
BC: I used Cascade 220. It’s what I use for almost all of my anatomical knit sculptures. It holds its shape really well and has great stitch definition, so it’s great for getting that iconic knit look, while creating something with structure.

Why are some of the rib bones knit in darker yarn? Cartilage?
BC: Yep, you got it, that’s the cartilage. I thought it added some nice contrast too. The cartilage is actually Cascade Venezia. It has a bit of silk mixed in with the wool, which gives it that sheen.

Transcending the Material

Kind of random: have you ever broken a bone?
BC: Yes, actually, I’m recovering from a broken foot right now! I broke my 5th metatarsal (the biggest bone in my pinky toe) on my left foot while I was skipping down my driveway. Skipping is dangerous. Just don’t do it.

How has your art practice, or your creative impulse, changed since completing “Transcending the Material”?
BC: This piece really showed me that you can knit anything. Knitting the skeleton knocked down any barriers I had before, where I’d tell myself “oh no, that’d be too hard to knit”. It gave me the confidence to continue doing what I do.

Which artists do you look to for inspiration?
BC: Mark Newport and Dave Cole are two of my favorite artists who also use knitting in their work. I find Dave Cole’s use of unconventional materials very inspiring, and I love the way Mark Newport comments on masculinity through his knit superhero-inspired work. But knitting aside, I find a lot of inspiration in the work of other queer artists like David Wojnarowicz, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and Ron Athey. Damien Hirst’s early work had a big influence on me as well, with his anatomical and pharmaceutical subject matter.

One look at your portfolio reveals you to be a man of many talents, what are you working on now?
BC: I’m about to start knitting a lot of pills for a show that’s in the works for this June here in LA. And I’m working on a new performance as my pop-superstar alter ego, BenBot 5000. There’s also a music video in the works as part of that project.

What is it about the human skeleton that made you sit down and knit it?
BC: I just found it so beautiful. An image of a skeleton sitting in a lotus position just popped into my head one day and I knew I had to knit it.

Transcending the Material

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You won’t want to miss this amazing piece, so be sure to stop by during store hours to see Ben Cuevas’s “Transcending the Material”. Show ends November 7th, 2013.

Happy Knitting!
Emma G.

Useful Links:
Shop Cascade Yarns!
Visit Ben Cuevas’s site!

One Response to ““Transcending the Material” – interview with Ben Cuevas”

  1. [...] on view at Knit Culture Studio through November 7th, 2013. Can’t get enough?  Check out our interview with artist Ben Cuevas for more info, or follow Ben Cuevas on Twitter (@Ben_Cuevas) for more on this and other incredible [...]

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