Upon first glance at Benjamin Shine’s work, you might think these art pieces are sketched or painted, with digital enhancements. But they’re actually constructed entirely of a material that is both underused and underrated in art pieces – tulle.
Tulle is the mesh fabric that ballerina skirts are made out of, and it’s not something that we often see in artwork. However, Shine’s pieces are made completely out of tulle, and must impressively, many of them are portraits.
This artist creates facial details, shading, and silhouette by strategically ironing the material in different shapes. Most recently, he’s completed a tulle portrait series dedicated to the frontline workers, depicting healthcare workers all over the globe to honor their values of courage and kindness.
The overall mood and feeling that the viewer is left with is immense, and the level of meticulous detailб put into these works is just as impressive. One of the portraits is of Shaan Sahota, a doctor in London who was moved form surgery to ICU to take care of Covid-19 patients. She was featured in the Guardian and inspired Benjamin to reach out, soon after creating this portrait.
Ben also created a video for Fashion Insiders, in which he refers to himself as an inventor. Shine actually attended fashion school, and we love the ways that his work merges the worlds of fashion and art in such bold ways.
Along with his work on the canvas, Benjamin has some truly jaw-dropping work that’s been on the runway with several household names. Here’s a stunning tulle face on a Maison Margiela look, which was purchased in 2019 by the MET.
The sky art looks more like a huge sculpture, and is one of our favorite surrealist art pieces of all time. Of course, this structure wasn’t made solely out of tulle, and employed the work of some wire to make the delicate and elegant face.
Ben uses tulle in his work for several reasons. It focuses on the concepts of energy, the fleeting nature of impermanence, and the connection between the superficial, and the spiritual. To us, it feels like freedom and imagination incarnate.
Shine’s work has been showed at many prestigious institutions along with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, such as MoMa, and the Crafts Council UK.
Here’s one of his works showcased in a flawless Bergdorf Goodman window. It’s clear that this artist is a big part of the designer community as well, and has collaborated with the likes of Givenchy, Vogue, and Maison Margiela. He’s even worked with Beyonce!
Here, we see the tulle on the ground and the mastery that he applies to it up on his ladder, looking like a Michelangelo of sorts. This was a work for Bergdorf’s and the tulle artist explained in his caption that it took months of hand sewing. Patience is a virtue!
These pieces are sensual, thought provoking, and so much more. They’re larger than life, but in size and in our minds. Benjamin Shine is a pioneer in his field, with his mesmerizing videos garnering hundreds of millions of views.
We also love his dedication to social justice, depicted in his work with the frontline workers, and his tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, in which he makes an analogy to the different shades of tulle, and different shades of humans, saying “we are varied shades of the same.”
Many of the faces he completes look very pensive, and as many of us are in more thoughtful places than usual at this time, this art is the perfect assistant to help you reflect on whatever complicated feelings you may be feeling, through the pandemic and protests. Let art like this help you heal and process events around you, and if you’re not ready for that, just marvel at Shine’s awe-inspiring craftsmanship.