We had the good fortune of connecting with Ben Schorr and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ben, what inspires you?
For visual inspirations, some things that made an impression on me early in life were Matt Groening’s work (The Simpsons & Futurama), Fisher Price toys and children’s books, Sesame Street, and graffiti in Portland and Brooklyn. Later in life some illustrators whose work I’d fall in love with include Gustavo Dao, Michael Sweater, Eleanor Davis, Molly Mendoza, Sam Alden, Lynda Barry, and Kevin Cannon.
As for what inspires me more generally, one source would absolutely be my dad, Mark Schorr. He was an author before my sister and I were born, put that in the backseat for dad life, and in recent years has thrown himself back into writing. Seeing him hustle to get his work out again has been inspiring. And I was honored when both him and his publisher wanted to use my work for the cover of his most recent novel, “The Master Mind.”
Anyone building up a portfolio of creative work around a 40hr work week: you inspire me!
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I want my art to be as fun to look at as it is to create. Bright colors and bold lines, and simplicity that still invites a thorough look. I love the feeling of discovery when looking at art.
In other words, structurally straightforward but has details and moving parts that makes one want to examine it for a long time. Some of my favorite examples of this come from aforementioned illustrators Gustavo Dao, Michael Sweater, Lynda Barry or Kevin Cannon. Or a more common example: Martin Handford’s “Where’s Waldo.” To lean into this I’ve started jamming together elements of my background: letters, graffiti and characters. I enjoy the process and results, and the response has been wonderful!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I know I’m leaving many wonderful places out, this feels criminal! But for starters:
– Communal Coffee
– Bivouac Ciderworks
– Ben & Esther’s Vegan Jewish Deli
– Modern Times (any location)
– Verbatim Books
– Visual Art + Supply
– Now or Never Comics
– Bards and Cards
– At Ease Games
– BookOff – This is a chain but an excellent selection of books for crazy cheap, including comics (but the comics at the SD location cost a lot more than the ones at the NYC location, what’s up with that???)
– Lawson’s Peak
– Torrey Pines
– 7 Bridges (urban hike)
– Balboa Park
– Liberty Station
– Ocean Beach
– Tijuana (not San Diego, but we’re so close!)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Firstly, my mother, Sima Schorr. She was an excellent artist! She taught me principles I still use today, and I kick myself for not making more of an effort to learn from her when she was alive. But she was simultaneously downbeat about art, being a bit of a disillusioned artist herself. I think there can be a lot to learn from that too. It’s complicated, but I owe her everything.