Meet Ken Banks: Forward Artist

In the run-up to Ikon’s new exhibtion Forward: New Art from Birmingham, artist Ken Banks discusses his artwork, process and feelings about Birmingham.

This is the second in a series of blog posts about artists featuring in Forward. Ikon has also produced filmed interviews, at the artists’ studios which will be released over the course of the exhibition. You can find them on our YouTube channel here.

Can you introduce yourself and give us an overview of your practice at the moment?

Hi, my name is Ken Banks, I am a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Birmingham. I have a studio in Balsall Heath which I share with Andy De Comyn, who is a public artist. In my practice I make paintings, photographs, videos, pen and ink drawings, collage, traditional prints and sculptures. My work is about documenting the seen and the obscure, mapping connections of what seems to be random works, that features coincidental, accidental and unexpected connections. It is my own typology, that is private, subjective and unfiltered. I work fast without contemplating the mark making, I prefer this way of working, with the sweeping movements documenting connections and energy.

Ken Banks, Untitled, BCU Art Degree Show (2018)

What have you chosen to exhibit in Forward: New Art from Birmingham and why?

I am exhibiting a large canvas – the medium is pen and ink. It documents a series of newspaper articles chosen by chance; I used a computerised, random number generator to choose the newspaper, the page of the newspaper, and the page segment. I and then I made work about the content. It is exciting to be exhibiting work in the same gallery where the original Ikon artists showed their work in the 1960s.

Ken Banks, Obscure Connections #2 (2018)

What’s it like being an artist in Birmingham, and how do you see art changing or moving forward here?

Birmingham is noted to be the first manufacturing town in the world and I believe built its reputation on its progressive passions of production, manufacturing, engineering, science and the arts, it is noteworthy that the Birmingham School of Art was the first municipal art school in the country. Furthermore I am excited that the exhibition is at the same time Birmingham celebrates 130 years of being a city.

To see more of Banks’ work, follow him on Instagram and visit his website.

Forward: New Art from Birmingham is a group exhibition, including work by approximately twenty five artists, living and working in this city, to highlight the depth and vitality of a wide range of practices. Taking place in Medicine, the old gallery space of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, from which sprang the young generation that founded Ikon more than 50 years ago, it couldn’t be more in keeping with their progressive ethos, still informing our artistic programme to this day.

Open 23 January — 24 March 2019. Entry is free, open daily 10am-5pm, at Medicine Bakery and Gallery. 69 New Street, Birmingham B2 4DU. Please note Medicine Bakery is only accessible via a steep staircase.

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