by Melissa Ashcraft

Creative Acts of Transformation Traveling Home with Ben Willmore

Who better to interpret “Traveling Home” than a photographer who lives on the road?

As part of our Creative Acts of Transformation Project, we invited Ben Willmore to express this theme through the lens of his art and his life. With help from the Cintiq Companion, he created a piece that challenges us to mind the details, while never losing sight of the big picture.

Ben’s “Traveling Home” interpretation:

Ben shared some thoughts about how he creates his art and what it was like to contribute to our Creative Acts of Transformation.

Q: Can you describe your project?

A: I captured this vintage Winnebago trailer at an RV park in Albuquerque, NM, while I was in town shooting the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. It’s a simple, straight-on capture that I transformed in Photoshop. I went for a subtle painterly and textured look. I wanted something where, from a distance, it might look like a normal photograph. But the closer you got, the more you realize that it’s not just a photograph. Instead, there is texture and detail all over the place that would not be found in a photograph.

Q: What are you passionate about in your work?

A: My visual work is focused on my passion for the quality and design of the 1930s through 1950s. I spend my time searching out great examples of vintage design then attempt to present them in a unique way. I often incorporate multiple exposures, light-painting, and extensive digital optimization. When I can show someone an image of a classic design where they are not distracted by the clutter of modern life, I have succeeded.

Q: Had you done anything like this before?

A: I’ve been challenged to create images under a theme many times in the past. The most memorable would be participating in PhotoshopWars at a conference known as Photoshop World. In front of an audience of hundreds, a random person is chosen and allowed to select five stock photography images. Another person is then chosen to pick which type of graphic needs to be created (album cover, website, brochure, etc.). A third decides the name of the organization that would be fictitiously hiring us for the job. Then we’re given five minutes to create the required image—all while competing against two other teams and having our screens projected onto huge overhead screens.

I don’t know if I’d say this was quite like that project, but it gives you an idea that I’ve had to create things for others under unexpected themes.

Q: You’re obviously tied into technology. Which Wacom products did you use for this and could you share your experiences?

A: Since Wacom asked me to create this image, I thought I’d use one of their newest and most mobile-friendly products: the 13” Wacom Cintiq Companion Tablet. I thought it’d be a great choice since I can run the full version of Photoshop, while working off battery power on something small enough to comfortably fit in my lap.

Sounds like on-the-road and right-at-home can peacefully coexist. Thanks, Ben, for your art and insights!