Ben was a year behind me in High School. Before I met him, I ran in a circle of friends that included his sister Becca. The Strawn kids are all insanely gifted artists.
Ben's work speaks to the dark recesses of my soul. The part of me that thinks City of Lost Children really is a children's movie. The part of me that is both terrified of and fascinated with posionous spiders.
My first introduction to Ben was in art class. I was struggling with colored pencils and he was painting a masterful self-portrait: This hulking, dark monster holding a mask of Ben's face. Whoah. This guy wasn't just putting colors on canvas, he was digging deep and putting himself on the canvas. Nothing at all glib about this dude.
We collaborated on a cartoon for the school newspaper. We talked about doing a graphic novel, but I moved away to college and lost track of him until fairly recently. As you can see from the image here, and from his online portfolio, he has been very busy.
Check him out. Maybe he'll inspire you, too.
Update, 4/20/17: In addition to the newfound link to his online portfolio, check out his Artist a Day page, and this astonishing time lapse video of Ben at work.