We had the good fortune of connecting with Benjamin Cook and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Benjamin, why did you pursue a creative career?
Maybe this answer is a bit of a cop out but I don’t know that I ever really considered anything else as a possibility. Creative thinking has always been how I made sense of the world and it is my go to method for any problems.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work encompasses painting, digital-based projects, and community organizing. I am most interested in questions about the ways content moves between digital and physical spaces. My projects have ranged from barely viewed paintings that were made for obscure Wikipedia articles without images, to an Instagram-based community project that gain international attention. Both were fun in different ways. Although the mainstream attention from the Instagram project was appreciated, I tend to prefer things that fly under the radar. I get a chance to take more risks in that environment.
The path to get to where I am has been up and down. I think the main thing that I have learned is that whatever I do, I have to do it for myself first. Meaning, If I feel like I’m trying to do something inauthentic or just for the “likes” and “follows,” then I need to stop. Those types of projects tend not to work as well, and I have less fun while executing them.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Visiting my area? Cincinnati? I don’t know that I would recommend it above any other similar sized city. I think I would give the same advice that I would give to anyone visiting any new place. Do the touristy things. They might be kitschy but they’re touristy for a reason. It’s usually fun. Scope out some slightly off the radar places to get drinks or dinner and try and talk with locals. Get suggestions from them and go check those places out. I am not a big believer in review sites, so I say just go and see if its fun. If not, oh well, head to the next spot!
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?
My dog Winston.