Boring Friends: doing good and making mistakes

Boring Friends: doing good and making mistakes

Ben Courtice, the artist behind Boring Friends, is a Canadian graphic designer with lots of creativity and a busy schedule. He has some fantastic projects under his belt from working with companies like Adobe and Casetify. This made us all the more excited when he agreed to our collab for the merch drop in May.

From graphic design to Boring Friends

Some artists find their passion through painting and drawing. With Ben, that went a little differently. He tells us: “I started messing around in Photoshop and other creative software in high school. I was never really able to draw. But I was handy with a computer, so graphic design seemed like a great way to express myself artistically without necessarily having to learn how to draw. Then I went to University for Multimedia and Design, where graphic design was a huge part of what I learned and developed, and the rest is history!”

As we now know, Ben used his design talents to open his very own creative studio named Boring Friends. But his career didn’t start out this way. In fact, he tells us that he worked in the tech industry for nearly a decade. It wasn’t until later that he decided to work independently. “Eventually I hit a point where I was thinking a lot more about the art I wanted to make on my own and what I could do with it, especially if I had as much time as I needed to explore it,” he says. “So I struck out on my own without much of a plan other than wanting to keep making art and seeing what happens.”

Working with big brands and dealing with copycats

We already mentioned that Ben has gotten to work with some amazing companies. But how do you land a client like Adobe? Ben explains: “Most of the time it's just a matter of them having found my work through social media or word of mouth, and they reach out. Working with a company like Adobe is great because I've been using their tools for basically two decades now, and it's nice to think I'm joining the ranks of tons of other amazing artists who they work closely with!”

The life of an artist isn’t always about incredible collabs though. While Ben has undeniably gone on to become a successful independent artist, he’s also had to deal with something that plagues almost every creative person: plagiarism. For Ben, this happened most recently with his ‘Make Mistakes’ shirt design (which he addressed in a witty, tongue-in-cheek Instagram post).

How did he deal with it? “A lot of it is kind of just the nature of the business! Either from people out there who make it their job to rip off brands and sell it as their own, or simply careless designers who grab artwork from wherever on the internet without attribution. In some cases, if possible, I'll try to reach out to let them know and ask them to take it down.”

Face This collab

We were ecstatic to find out that Ben wanted to collab with Face This for a new T-shirt design! And when we asked him what made him want to work with us, he told us he is also a big advocate of using art to help others.

For this Boring Friends x Wulan collab, Ben collabed with Wulan, one of the students at SDN 4 Batu Putih in Lombok. When asked to draw something that makes her feel at home, Wulan depicted clouds and plants she sees on the island. While discussing his creative process, Ben explains: “I tried to picture what I would see looking out the same window, back when I was younger and staring at the sky and the nature around me, letting my imagination run wild about what the whole big world has in store for me.”

It turns out that Ben and Wulan have even more in common. He says that he also feels at home in nature. “I love sitting in the woods by the water, listening to the birds and the waves. But I also feel at home sitting in a coffee shop in a big city reading a book, doodling and listening to music.”

A special message to Wulan

As our interview came to a close, we had to ask Ben one last thing. Did he have anything to say to his collaborator for this project? So, Wulan, this message is for you: “Thanks for being such a fun collaborator to work with and for giving me such a great idea for us to work on together. Never stop making art, you're doing great!”

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