Illustrator Ben Tolman’s intricate and densely-layered ink drawings reflect a deep fascination with different levels of consciousness and perception. Some works depict fantastical landscapes that are populated by otherworldly creatures, suggesting a hallucinatory state. At the same time, Tolman also depicts what would otherwise be monotonous landscapes with such incredible detail that even the most mundane of scenes can become strange and fascinating.
This is the case in his monumental 6.5’ x 4’ drawing Suburbs, in which Tolman renders a suburban aerial view with such precision and extreme geometric repetitiveness as to make us regard this ordinary landscape with a renewed, anthropological interest. Most recently, Tolman has been creating smaller mixed-media drawings that incorporate ink and gouache on paper. In these works, Tolman seems to be focusing more on the collective consciousness of groups and societies, as well as how individuals may either adapt to or become alienated by their socially-constructed environment.