The Stormcloud Project is a graphic, collage, and design studio founded by Benjamin West.
Ben is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates work that is inspired by nature, and influenced by environmental and ecological issues. Through the mediums of collage and photography the work of the Stormcloud Project examines our ever-changing relationship with nature, and highlights the consequences of human activity upon our surroundings.
Influenced by Naturalists and the principles of natural observational science, Ben is a passionate collector. He enjoys compiling a variety of resources for use in the works which are fragmented, lost, or unwanted from his surroundings. The subsequent works become a juxtaposition of various collated discarded printed materials, and natural artefacts.
His practice is influenced by the Arts and Craft Movement of the early 19th century, where artists tended to oppose machine manufacture in favor of craft production. This philosophy was initiated in part by the writings of John Ruskin, in which his social criticism gave rise to a reaction against the styles that were developed by machine-production. Therefore, integral to his practice is this need to create works which are cut and arranged by hand, employing digital techniques only for archiving and reproduction. Maintaining an attachment to the materials used in the process is key to the arrangements, ultimately defining this studio and the projects.
Inspired by an essay by Ruskin entitled “The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth-Century” (1884), where he describes the effects of early industrialisation on weather patterns, the studio is entitled the Stormcloud Project.
The work is concerned with how we continue to interact with, and impact our natural surroundings with technological, economic, and political developments. Whilst the images that are created possess a playfulness, this belies the intention to communicate a serious environmental and political statement.