Benjamin Spark

His visual language is quite inspired by popular culture, pop art and cartoon characters, alongside images borrowed from youth subcultures and the commercial mainstream.

Benjamin Spark is a French-Belgian painter, born in 1969, who lives and works in Brussels. His visual language is freely inspired by popular culture, pop art and cartoon characters, alongside images borrowed from youth subcultures and the commercial mainstream.

In the 1990s, after a career on the web and a stay in New York, he decided to give it all up to start painting. After years of gradually refining his style, today Spark is represented almost all over the world, a staggering success that reflects the power of his paintings.

Spark's complex pictorial worlds include quotes from artists such as Lichtenstein, Warhol and Basquiat, as well as song lyrics, brand logos, video games, cartoons and magazine covers. He subverts the locked-in comic book universe by juxtaposing Disney stars, superheroes or the denizens of French-Belgian comic books and then getting them dirty and daubing them with a graffiti spray can. "I take these icons and make fun of them, to illustrate a kind of disorder in their world," he says, "I explode the frame they are in, make them a bit dirty. The characters become the background and the tag comes to the fore."

Spark admits to being a frustrated comic book writer/artist. "As a boy, I dreamed of it, but I could never come up with a good story," he says. Instead, he went into web design. The mid-life crisis came early and at 30 he dropped everything to take up painting. After some flirting with tribal-influenced art, known in English as 'outsider art', Spark developed his own style, merging pop and graffiti art. He cites Icelandic postmodernist Erro and New York street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat as his influences and changed his name in homage to designer Philippe Starck.

Having left Paris, Spark now works from a studio in a converted brewery in the mean streets of Brussels. "I fell in love with Brussels... it's the place to be," he says.
More than any other artist of his time, Spark exemplifies what art historian Daniel Birnbaum calls "painting in the expanded field". His prolific body of work reflects the prepackaged novelty and hybrid spaces of the information age.

Available works

All works are displayed

Exit Through The Gallery

Mr Brainwash

Friday, March 1 to 3, 2024