Combining 1950’s fashion spreads, medical textbooks, ancient ads, and other strange found materials, Ben Lewis Giles creates captivating, retro-futuristic collages.
“Much of what I use is from vintage books and encyclopedias, as well as the classic National Geographic from the 1950s through the 1980s,” the British artist says. “I go through large quantities of flower and tree guides and garden books. I love hunting for, and using, physical materials, rather than printing images or creating digitally.”
Giles’s love of nature shows through in his images, which often include surreally repetitive or oversized flowers, plants, and butterflies. We can only imagine how many millions of hours must have gone into meticulously overlapping rows of perfectly color-coordinated flowers. The attention to detail in Giles’s images is just mind-boggling.
Recently, Giles’s work has evolved off the page, to life-sized installations that still use collaged materials: paper butterflies on a tree (pictured below), a hand-made wave cresting on a beach. On and off paper, Giles’s intricately detailed images challenge the boundary between real and imagined, creating a rich fantasy world that you can stare at for hours.