Alumni Update: Interview with Ben Morales
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Ben Morales (2006) is a Toledo-based artist specializing in graphic design and photography. Ben Morales’ work is “Conceptual, emotive, and engaging.” Former Senior Designer at Communica Inc., Hanson Inc., Ologie and current Senior Designer / Photographer at Hart Inc.
Why did you choose Bowling Green State University?
Initially I wanted to go to a private art school like CCAD but it was ridiculously expensive and didn’t offer much outside of art. BGSU had a great design program and allowed me to explore other fields I love, like writing, literature, and history.
As an accomplished freelance artist, what advice would you give an artist on the onset of freelancing?
Although I’m no longer freelancing, but my advice is to become good at self-promotion and networking (areas that I suck at). Have a strong online/social presence and find your niche.
Designing a published book is an incredible feat — what were the challenges you faced?
The breadth of the Hindsight project was very ambitious, especially to do in my spare time. Most publishers would have taken care of the design aspect, but I insisted on doing it myself. There was also an insane amount of research involved. Luckily the publisher helped me out with that.
My photo project/book, Hindsight, is my favorite work because it combines my passion for design, photography, writing and history. It is so personal to me and has effected so many others
Due to your passion for Hindsight, what’re your thoughts on architectural pieces that are demolished and replaced, despite their merit?
All things must come to an end at some point. But I wish we would develop more of an appreciation for those old buildings and restore them rather than replace. It’s far more sustainable, cost-effective, and enriching to the community. We have enough parking lots and tacky office buildings.
The past has significance for you and your work — how would you describe that significance?
Our experience is shaped by the past. We should appreciate it and try to understand it for the benefit of all, but not dwell on it or let it define us. Nostalgia is a powerful tool, and a weapon to some.
Any advice for current students?
Work hard and immerse yourself in art and design. Live it. Breathe it. Revel in it. Find heroes and mentors to encourage and inspire you. Develop your own unique point of view and impeccable standards, then let that be your compass moving forward.
Interview by Bradford Q. Simpson