The Ben Rollins | Stills & Motion

SCAD Atlanta's Excelsus Laureate class of 2013

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Although I finished up my coursework in the fall, my commencement ceremony was not until this past weekend. I am very excited to announce that I have been awarded the honor of Excelsus Laureate of the 2013 graduating class. The award is the highest honor given to a student and only goes out to one student in Atlanta! Receiving this honor meant I had to give a commencement speech at the graduation ceremony. You can view the sweet video SCAD made of me and the speech from this past weekend below.

Holy Week Photography Series

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One year ago this week, I was in Puerto Rico photographing a friend's wedding and had some downtime on Good Friday when I decided to explore around Old San Juan. Within a couple of minutes wandering around, I stumbled across a huge procession of people moving through the streets reenacting the last steps of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion. I followed them around with the short time I had, snapping through the only two rolls of film on me. It really was a beautiful experience and I was quite happy with the shots, so I am posting a few of them this holy week and hope that you enjoy them too. All of the images were shot on film with an old Mamiya 645, developed by hand, and scanned into the computer.

Grammy Award Winner Lecrae

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I recently had the great opportunity of being able to photograph Grammy award winning artist, Lecrae, the day before I left for China. It was a very quick shoot, but we had blast and got some really nice images. Here are a few of my favorites from the shoot.

I would definitely recommend purchasing his latest album "Gravity."
It recently won a Grammy and has been on constant rotation in my car since being back in the states. It also has one of the best opening tracks of all time that hits so hard!

FLUX Night 2012

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I had a great time this past weekend being a part of Atlanta's annual FLUX Night. It was so great to see thousands of people gathered in downtown Atlanta to view and be a part of contemporary works of art. I am so proud of my piece and to have been able to be a part of the amazing event.

Here are a few sites that had some reviews of my piece, This Sacred Life:

Creative Loafing

Arts ATL

SCAD Connector

Here are some videos that show parts of the performance.

HGTV Shoot with Chef Robert Gerstenecker

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Another shoot I did this summer for the HGTV Garden Blog was with Chef Rober Gerstencker who is the executive Chef at the Four Season's restaurant Park 75. It was very cool to be on the roof of the hotel in Midtown and see the gardens and beehives that Park 75 keeps up there utilizes for their food.

HGTV Shoot with Chef Lance Gummere

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I was  excited to be hired recently by HGTV for a few shoots for their new HGTVGarden blog. Our first shoot was with Chef Lance Gummere. He was the former chef at The Shed at Glenwood but is now working on opening a new restaurant, Bantam & Biddy, this coming fall. I am really looking forward to checking out his new restaurant.

Review of Kaws: Down Time at The High Museum

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Transient

Step into the High Museum over the next few months and you will notice that some large, vibrant, and cartoony images have been sprinkled throughout the entire art center. It almost feels like the High has created a game for viewers to discover this new work within multiple sites of the museum. KAWS: Down Time has taken over the museum and is an exciting exhibition that is a must see for the people of Atlanta. 

The man behind KAWS, Brian Donnelly, began as a street artist in New York but now has translated his work into paintings, drawings, and sculptures that use imagery reminiscent of the cartoons in our current day pop culture. KAWS: Down Time is the largest exhibition of his work to date and this bold work captures you before you even step foot inside to buy tickets. “Companion” is the large sculpture that greets visitors in the courtyard of the Woodruff Art Center. This piece resembles Mickey Mouse but with a skull and crossbones head which is bowed into his hands and gives a somber vibe which is juxtaposed with it being a cartoon character. This being the first piece that one sees before entering the museum creates an atmosphere that demands your attention and forces you to realize the importance of the body of work being shown.

Once you get inside the High, the real adventure begins. Viewers can see the site specific wall painting next the coat check. This large wall painting has a finger which is pointing in the direction of the exhibitions. It acts as a guide leading you towards the main attractions. I was sad to hear that the Museum plans on painting over it after the show ends in May. Inside the Robinson Atrium of the High hangs the 24 foot long triptych. The colors of the piece are so bright that at times it feels as you must squint to see all the different orange and red hues. It is a beautiful piece that brings so much color to the all white atrium. The size of it creates the feeling that you are looking at a billboard directing you to the floor of the exhibition.

The Contemporary art floor plays host to the main exhibit of the work. This exhibit is a colorful feast for your eyes. You are bombarded with 27 circular paintings that once again are so bright that some may feel the need to squint. The images on these paintings act as almost macro paintings of different body parts of the cartoon figures. The majority of the paintings are focused around KAWS’ character KawsBob who is based on the popular cartoon character Sponge Bob Square Pants. Flanking these 27 circle paintings on both sides are two impressive canvas paintings that still offer the same pizzaz as the rest of the work. Though, at times, it seems hard to focus on them because you feel the need to keep re-examining the circle paintings because of the diverse imagery within them. Across from this section there is a life size sculpture of KAWS’ character Chum. He seems to be based on the Michelin Man and so reflective that you can see the paintings in his reflection. To the right of Chum, you enter a room that serves as a historical documentation of Brian Donnelly’s early work. This room acts like an oasis from the large and colorful work in the main area. It is here where you are able to see where the artist got his start. These smaller drawings, paintings, and sculptures let you decompress from the other work yet are still somehow very powerful.

KAWS: Down Time is an amazing show that is a pleasure for viewers to feast there eyes upon while making their way through the High Museum. Not only is this an important exhibition for the High Museum and Atlanta, it is an important progression for the relationship between street art and the contemporary art world.