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  • In Conversation with Ben Sanderson | Hospital Rooms
  • Ella Rowe-Hall

In Conversation with Ben Sanderson | Hospital Rooms

In Conversation with Ben Sanderson | Hospital Rooms

In honour of National Creativity Day, we were blessed with an insight into the world of talented local artist Ben Sanderson and were delighted to visit him in his immersive creative space, at his studio in West Cornwall.

With Camborne and Redruth Community Hospital being Ben's second Hospital Rooms project, his budding involvement with the charity, it's fellow contributors and commissioned artists unearth an insight into the developmental nature of the project. 

Sharing conversations amidst his past and present artworks, we discussed Ben's projects and current creative interests, his ongoing collaboration with Hospital Rooms, and his initial ideas and inspirations for the ongoing Camborne and Redruth Community Hospital Hospital Rooms mural.

Ben Sanderson pictured in discussion within his studio

You’re one of twelve artists commissioned by Hospital Rooms to work on a new project in Cornwall. What led to you being involved in the project, and is this the first time you’ve worked with the charity?

In 2021, I worked with Hospital Rooms on a project at the Mother and Baby Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital in London. To begin with, I led a sensory flower painting workshop for patients and staff, taking advantage of the beautiful walled garden on the hospital grounds. This workshop, and the flowers in the sensory garden, closely inspired a mural I went on to design for the unit’s nursery which encompassed the whole room, transitioning through the seasons from wall to wall. I live and work in Cornwall, so when Hospital Rooms began a project down here I was delighted to be one of the twelve artists involved.

In progress artwork displayed on the wall of Ben Sanderson's studio

The artwork you make for Cove Ward is being developed in collaboration with patients and staff through a series of creative workshops, including one at Tate St Ives. What has it been like running those workshops and generating ideas for your artwork in collaboration?

The ward workshops have been a lovely way to collaborate and engage directly with the patients and staff at Cove Ward. This is important as they are going to be living and working with the artwork in the end. Conversations during workshops on the ward and at Tate St Ives have ended up being a major source of inspiration for the project. The idea of the blue between two greens, which will also become the title of the artwork, came directly from a group session held in the garden at Cove Ward. One patient was wearing light green trousers and an olive green top and we were sitting on a green floor. The combination of greens next to each other turned her trousers blue: ‘I could have sworn my trousers were green this morning!’ she said. When we went back inside the trousers turned green again. As we joked about her colour-changing trousers, it was this simple, humorous moment and conversation which sparked so much joy and stemmed so naturally from our understanding, observation and perception of colours. This magic shifting colour was the starting point for my work for Cove Ward, and I have thought a lot about how I can subtly honour and incorporate this organic moment within the artwork.

A few nature-inspired art pieces pictured in Ben Sanderson's art studio

What impact do you believe art has on hospital wards, and why do you feel this is important?

Art can help us to find points of understanding and connection in a multifaceted world. In this respect it is important in life as well as on the ward. I find that people struggle to find the time for something this reflective. Maybe a space that is slowed down by bodies needing to heal is a good place for this work.

Without spoiling the end result, are there certain themes or styles that you intend to lean towards within the project?

My artwork will be in the Dining Room at Cove Ward. The room has lots of windows, tables and chairs, and not many full walls for painting. This had led to me making three works for the space. One is a full wall of pattern that merges between blue and green and is based on a quilt. Another is a strip of a different quilted pattern that blends again between blue and green. Finally, there will be a painting based on flowers from the garden at Cove Ward and a poppy for a patient who particularly likes them. I don’t like to think in terms of style when working – I tend to lean into the work and follow it like a scent.

 

We'd like to say a huge thank you to Ben for taking the time to warmly welcome us into his studio. We feel extremely grateful to be a very small part of such an impactful project, and we can't wait to share further Hospital Room project updates in the not-so distance future.

To make sure you don't miss a thing, be sure to follow along @stevalcandles and explore more of Ben's world and work @sanderson_ben.

  • Post author
    Ella Rowe-Hall