By Marla Horn Lazarus
Artist, street muralist, or film director (depending on the day), Ben Fronckowiak has taken yet another career leap, turning to the modeling world to expand his artistic expression. Whether he’s covered in paint or striking a sultry pose, Ben is a rising talent in the world of street art and recently signed with DAS Model Management to pursue work in front of the camera. Since completing a mural in May 2018 at the famed Wynwood Walls in Miami, Ben was signed by nation’s fastest growing independent modeling agency, spawning a transcending career of self-expression within the fashion world. Ben’s flair in front of the camera is forming an artistic canvas of its own.
Street Art Meets Picasso
Born in California, growing up in a family that painted around him, Ben said, “My maternal grandma did portraits of us when we were young, while my mom taught art and my dad mastered poetry.”
Adopting his passion for painting at 16, Ben was accepted into film school at UCLA, with an ambition to become a director. “While studying, I put painting on the back burner and began filming a documentary in West Hollywood that encapsulated the lives of individuals in the transgender community. This intensely rewarding experience largely influenced the style I adopt today, after learning about their culture and poignant stories of passion and anguish.”
Graduating with honors, Ben started painting portrait art, but his love for over-sized, larger-than-life murals emerged as his specialty, taking his inspiration from Picasso, among other abstract masters. His style grew through emotional expressions of different characters and portraying them with his own visions of color, shape and lines, all depending on the mood at the time. Ben describes his creations as “Street Art meets Picasso” with his character abstractions taking on a figurative form of Pop Art that aims to express “a voice of acceptance.”
Vibrant, Abstract and Style
“I first began painting realistic portraits of my friend’s mom at her senior care home,” said Ben. “Learning about her experiences living in New York City not only inspired me to live there, but how to depict emotions and character through my paintings. I started to experiment with various styles of drawing and painting that encouraged me to use a variety of mixed media in my work.” In 2016, before moving to New York City, Ben created his first mural at his grandmother’s store in California. As his passion for artistic expression began to grow, so did the size of his paintings. He started creating numerous murals throughout New York City and designed a mural for the interior of a restaurant, inspired by, Picasso’s “Guernica” as his vision.
Words Ben lives by is a quote he fondly remembers from his grandmother, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
While traveling between New York and Miami on modeling projects, Ben’s work escalated as he collaborated with other local artists in the New York area. His biggest break came after meeting Franz Stuhlpfarrer, who allowed him to create an exhibition within the renowned World of McIntosh Townhouse in New York City, a famous home for iconic artists and the music world. The five-story townhouse and creative studio became the canvas for his first solo exhibition, gaining him wide recognition among the art community. In addition to drawing from the masterminds of Picasso and Keith Haring, Ben enjoys works of his favorite film directors, Pedro Almodovar and Guillermo del Toro, for his own development of stylized characters crafted within his murals. “I never know what to expect! Everything is a challenge and I love creating new projects,” he said.
Melding Brushes and Lens
“It all began with a selfie on my Instagram (with over 22K followers), DAS Model Management reached out to me and the rest is history,” Ben said. Currently, his personal brand in front of the lens is being developed for the corporate fashion world, with his own creative input. “I recognized the huge potential when I saw his portraits,” said Steve Wimbley, head of the Men’s Division at DAS Model Management. “His personality is so inspiring and his serious passion for the arts gives a male model like Ben an extra layer of creative appeal. His talents are equally unique in front of the camera as they are on canvas.”
With an exciting career ahead, the sky’s the limit for Ben as an emerging, multi-talented model, artist and filmmaker. “I want to pair my modeling with my art to bring attention to one another,” Words Ben lives by is a quote he fondly remembers from his grandmother, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson