The Australian artist Ben Frost’s work is fun, colorful and provocative. To achieve this, he twists the sharp graphics of pop cultural icons and brands by imposing a cartoon, anime, comic character or pharmaceutical drugs. This juxtaposition is really what makes Frost’s work fun, as the two elements play together to form a depiction of the pleasures and failures of the brands or icons. These critiques poke fun at the industries as they point out the realities, both positive and negative, of these culturally accepted industries. But most of all they make me laugh… the cookie monster blissed out munching a cookie on the pack of the pharmaceutical Oxycontin. That’s some ripe humor.
This play is where the success of Frost’s work lies. He brings a little humor to an art world that takes itsself so seriously. It’s refreshing. Yes, drugs are bad, mmk, but the pharmaceutical ones are ok? Here’s a depiction of how Eeyore looks on Fentanyl. A little mopey and numb yer, but that’s Fentanyl for you. This play combined with pop colors and graphic styles is what makes these works a feast for the eyes but, also pokes fun at those around taking their bubble so seriously.
Here’s the titillating and orgasming fantasy that Victoria’s Secret entices people to indulge. Hate it or love it, they play and that’s what’s fun.
Yes, these works are playful, and that’s what gets you in the door, but these works are almost shorthand for the problems we know so well in western societies. McDonald’s food is by no means good for you, the abuse of drugs is so good it will ruin your life, your sugar addiction is gagging for your next concentrated sugar drink, your reproductive and sexual urges are played upon to sell you some perfume and lacy underlooms. What to do about it? I’m not sure either, and if you don’t like the pleasures that these things bring then toughen yourself so they don’t affect you. If you want the pleasures of the world we inhabit, ‘ride or die’… we only have 80-ish years if we are lucky. All prevailing ideologies have consequences, but as Frost has said in the past ‘It’s a really wonderful and exciting world but at the same time it’s horrible and disgusting.’ Walk the line as you see fit but, let’s not take ourselves too seriously.
Frost has exhibited extensively across the world with over 35 solo exhibitions. His work has evolved from his kaleidoscopic pop street art, and I think it’s bolder and more fun. Check out more of his work and upcoming shows on his IG or Website called BenFrostIsDead, (titled because Frost faked his death once).