Special to the Review
Benji Andringa, also known by his artist name, Lowclass, has been making art and music for most of his life.
He grew up in a creative family in Oshawa, Ont. just outside of Toronto.
Andringa said that after finishing high school he originally set out to follow his other passion, music, but after a year, he traded in the amplifiers for markers and ended up studying graphic design at Durham College.
After completing his advanced diploma in graphic design he went on to do an internship program with the Toronto based studio, Reactor Art and Design.
Reactor Art and Design specializes in working with illustration and design. Andringa was thrilled to get to work with a company that works primarily with the graphic illustration style of design that he prefers to work with.
After the internship with Reactor, Andringa went on to work for a niche old school printing company in Toronto, where he was able to learn more skills associated with graphic arts and media.
Andringa has been developing his bold graphic style for many years. He lists his artistic influences as street art culture, old school print media, 80s thrasher and surf art, album art, psychedelic art and music.
“Music is a huge influence on my work, since I am always listening to music while I’m drawing” he said.
Andringa also mentioned that Mark Kowalchuk of Art Skool Skateboards, based in Calgary, has been a huge influence and mentor for him.
In terms of imagery, Andringa likes to work with local inspiration. He chooses to incorporate pine trees and bears in his work, as opposed to palm trees and tigers.
According to him, the mountains and mountain lifestyle are a big part of what he likes to portray and it gives the pieces a very iconic Canadian feel.
The bold colours and print graphic styles that he works in are cheerful and buoyant, and make his work appealing to art lovers both young and old.
Although he is well trained in creating digital work, Andringa says that he prefers to create images with ink and paper. Then he uses computer programs to adjust the work and make it into the proper style and media format depending on the job.
Since moving to Revelstoke in 2014 Andringa has worked with several local companies in different capacities. He says he has been able to use his diverse experience with illustration, graphic design, printing, branding and social media management to create anything from apparel to murals.
|The completed mural at Free Spirit Sports. (Liz Rorstad photo)|
He has recently completed an indoor mural at Free Spirit Sports and worked with other Revelstoke companies such as Somewon, Ride the Vibe, Trapper Snowboards and many others.
He has participated in the State of The Art group art show several times. The exhibition showcases artists from the ski and snowboard industry during the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler.
Andringa is now planning and looking forward to working with Free Spirit Sports once again.
This time they are teaming up to do a live outdoor mural session during the Luna Art Festival here in September.
Andringa is passionate about bringing art to the people and believes that outdoor murals are a great way to do that. He said he would love to see more outdoor artwork in Revelstoke and mentioned that some towns, such as Nelson and Squamish, have embraced outdoor street art by hosting mural art festivals.
Andringa says murals are a great way to show residents and visitors local culture and a great way for local businesses to get some extra attention, since murals generally become popular social media photo ops.
As a full time freelance artist, Andringa is always on the look out for new community connections and is especially interested in building profile of outdoor mural art in Revelstoke.