Meet Benjamin Flythe! A talented artist/photographer in his own right, he was selected this year to receive the distinguished Jeffery Howe Art History Award for his achievements as an Art History major in his time at BC. This award will be presented as part of the BC Arts Festival, and we were fortunate enough for Benjamin to share his story with us, and what kinds of art there is to be found in BC, Boston, and beyond, if you’re just brave enough to create it.
What has participating in the arts meant to you during your time at BC?
My participation in the arts at BC has been incredibly formative for me! I made it a point to study art history (as opposed to studio art) so that I would have some foundation on which to base my own art. I think it’s incredibly important to have a firm understanding of what’s come before you so that you, as an artist, know your place in the grand scheme of things. That being said, I also made it a point to practice my own art as much as possible and I took on projects whenever I could (both personal and to help out other people/organizations)!
How has your work in the arts informed your next steps after graduation?
I’m hoping to continue working in a creative capacity in any way that I can! I’ll obviously continue working on my personal photography, producing art more often (with a little more free time from no school!)—but I’m also applying for Art Director and Visual Designer positions in various companies in the Boston area. I have to confess that I’ve thought a little less about it, but I’m also hopefully going to continue working towards some further research in art history; in particular, I’d love to dive a bit deeper into the work I started on Roy Lichtenstein’s art with Professor Cernuschi since I feel like there’s more to be said on that topic.
If you could give some advice to younger students about the arts at BC and beyond, what would it be?
Make as many connections as possible. I transferred to BC from Parsons School of Design in NYC and while I’ve loved my time at BC more than I can say, the one regret I have is the number of “hands-on” related art connections I could have made there, had I stayed. That being said, I feel as if the relationships I’ve built with the professors in the Art History department here at BC are some that I value immensely. I never hesitate to reach out to previous professors, especially if my current research overlaps with something I’ve done with them in the past. Get to know them; they’re your best resources and they really want to see you succeed!
What is your most memorable arts experience and what did you learn from it?
My most memorable arts experience at BC has to be my collaboration with the Women’s Center on the “Embodied Stories” exhibition for their annual Love Your Body Week. I had the incredible opportunity to create a series of portraits of a wide variety of students, helping them share their lived experiences and the physical aspects of their bodies that help to shape their sense of self. These photos were coupled with interviews I conducted with each of the participants and shared in the level one gallery in O’Neill Library for the duration of Love Your Body Week. One of the participants, during our interview, asked how I felt about the whole project and that’s when it really hit me; any one of us could have been represented—myself included—because we all share in these stories. We have an incredible opportunity to get to know each other on a really fundamental level, and I hope that even one person was effected by the project as much as I was!
Honestly, just have fun! Art is different for everybody, but that’s what makes it so great. Go to a museum. Check out some local galleries. Bring some paper and charcoal to the Commons and sit and draw. Carry a camera around. Make it what you want and it’ll give something back to you (that’s so cheesy, and I can hardly believe I wrote it, but it’s very true!). Don’t think that because you’re “not an artist” or “don’t understand art” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate in it—that’s even more of a reason to just dive right in!
The 2016 Art Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held on Friday April 29th, in the Stokes Art Tent at 3pm. The event is free and open to the public, with no registration necessary. The Awards Ceremony will be from 3-4pm, and a reception with hors d’oeuvres and drinks will follow shortly from 4-5pm. See you there!