A pop of art: Briar Cliff alum blends realism with whimsy

Ben Pratt

Studio artist and BCU alum Ben Pratt ('11) currently has several of his works on display at the Modern Art Midtown gallery in Omaha.

Ben Pratt, of Sioux City, moved a majority of his artwork to the Modern Art Midtown gallery in Omaha, Neb., sometime before August. He and seven other artists' works will be on display at MAM until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the walls of his studio now only house 20 or so pieces or works in progress along with a few nails. Pratt ('11) [a former Briar Cliff art major] is wasting no time filling the empty spaces with more of his own artwork.

“I use AutoCAD and so everything that I draw in there is exactly how it is in virtual reality.”

— Ben Pratt ('11), studio artist

"Since I took all of my nice things away from myself, I need to fill my space here with other nice things," the 28-year-old said.

Most of Pratt's artwork focuses on a minimalist style of pop art. He believes in the "less is more" mentality and emphasizes perfection in his pieces. For example, his stoplight pieces — which feature the easily recognizable traffic lights on poles — are scaled down from the exact measurements of real stoplights. Pratt's perfectionist tendencies stem from his drafting experience at Custom Wood Works on Steuben Street.

"I use AutoCAD and so everything that I draw in there is exactly how it is in virtual reality," said Pratt. "Doing that for 45 hours a week really keeps my mind focused on trying to make things perfect."

14.08.14 Pratt Work


If you're interested in purchasing any works like this one, titled "Traffic Lights," by artist Ben Pratt, contact him via email at Bpratt976@msn.com.

Pratt's drafting perspective seems to leap onto the canvas. It becomes apparent in his electrical outlet pieces painted in an isometric view — a drafter's perspective that deals with parallel lines instead of a "real perspective" where everything goes toward a vanishing point (think about looking down a long hallway).

With a drafting degree from Western Iowa Tech Community College [in addition to his B.A. from Briar Cliff], Pratt is formally trained in hand drafting and usually hand draws his pieces using acrylic paints. He also hand builds all of his stretchers and stretches his own canvas to make things as perfect as he can.

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