Ben Tour is a painter and illustrator straight out of British Columbia, Canada. Tour has forged a successful career translating his fascination with human behavior into beautifully dense character portraits. Best described as a “visual anthropologist” of sorts, Tour has spent the better part of a decade cataloging and archiving a lab of abstract human autopsies into a visual diary of characters and personalities, assembled from scraps of truth and fiction gathered from everyday life. The first time my eyes lost their virginity to a piece of Ben Tour artwork, I was awe-struck. Tour’s uncanny ability to capture these minute gestures and waning expressions with his feverish strokes and emotive lines forms the foundation of his distinctive style. Most importantly however, his choice of subjects is what intimately informs the direction of each piece. What struck me most about Ben’s work then, and now, is the way that he captures human emotion so ridiculously well. It’s the sign of a veteran social observer.While viewer interpretation does play a major role in the way Tour’s work is received, personal connection is equally as important. The abundant emotional content built into each of his pieces is at once intimidating and mesmerizing. Rarely are the men in his portraits handsome or confident, instead they appear corpulent and misguided, emaciated and overwrought too concerned with their own neuroses to be bothered by the notion of societal norms. Tour’s female subjects, however, are portrayed in a much different light. Flaws and imperfections are, for the most part, hard to discern at first glance. Pouty lips and long sensual necklines punctuate attractive, symmetrical faces. Thin arms and long slender legs appear designed intently for Fashion Week runways. But closer scrutiny, particularly with regards to the eyes, hints at a more complicated reality lurking beneath each subject’s surface.
Arbor is proud to announce our partnership with Pangea Seed and “The Great West Coast Migration.” The event series is a traveling art show and benefit for the preservation of sharks and oceans. This years show features Arbor artists Dave Kinsey and Sylvia Ji, along with many more. Limited edition Arbor tees featuring the work