Welcome to the new Magnetic Press column ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW, where we will be highlighting some of our favorite artists in the world. While some of these creators may not (yet) have work published by Magnetic Press, they are so astoundingly talented and their work is so unbelievably gorgeous that we want to do what we can to shine a deserved spotlight on them.

This week’s spotlight is on BEN CALDWELL.

10escapeWhen Ben Caldwell wasn’t drawing, he was thinking about drawing. When he wasn’t drawing he was playing with a hodgepodge of battered action figures, making up strange characters and having them smash into one another in some surreal, over imagined setting. Usually while blurting out incomprehensible bon mots.

He was lucky to have an extremely supportive family whose core value was self-excellence, so if he wanted to be an artist it was assumed he would give that the same energy and care everyone else in the family had devoted to their own paths. Money and scholarships were cobbled together for art lessons, acting lessons, anything to fuel his creativity. (And to him, half of what he does is acting, anyway.) He was fortunate to have had fantastic teachers at great schools and programs.

While he always wanted to write and draw comics as his default setting, he also wanted to create worlds in a variety of other ways, so for better or worse he dithered around in a host of different studies and jobs. He went to Parsons for fashion and history, but abandoned fashion almost immediately. He stayed with history, though, while immolating his way through metalworking and product design before realizing he could skip all that and simply DRAW whatever he wanted in the illustration department, with fewer mashed fingers and singed eyebrows. Well, relatively fewer.

His grand plan was to create a touring museum of artifacts from vanished (and completely imaginary) civilizations. But he had a lot of grand plans and not a lot of practical problem-solving skills. So he accidentally got a job as an assistant children’s book designer, albeit a very unsuccessful one. He followed that with an equally accidental, but slightly more successful, stint as a toy designer at Marvel’s Toybiz.

tumblr_o5j3qsxMFH1rkvd7qo1_500After several years, he finally built up the proactive steam to become a freelance comic/animation artist. Over the past decade or so, he has worked on mountains of toy, game, and animation designs, of which will never be seen by the public. He has also worked on various comics, including his original, creator-owned THE DARE DETECTIVES (originally published by Dark Horse, later collected in hardcover by Archaia). Other comics work includes the surreal WEDNESDAY COMICS: WONDER WOMAN story, the how-to-draw ACTION! CARTOONING series, and the ALL-ACTION CLASSICS comic adaptations of literary classics “Dracula” and “The Wizard of OZ”.

tumblr_n3sa04IBEi1qgihzio1_1280More recent work includes DC’s satirical miniseries PREZ, and currently Marvel’s A-FORCE, but he is trying to pivot back towards more creator-owned work, including a sequel (or nine) to THE DARE DETECTIVES, a project about obnoxious super powered teens, and a sort-of-gothic-French-fairytale/revolution story THE SECRET OF ST MICHEL.

You can find Ben on TwitterInstagram and Tumblr. Check out more of his KILLER art in the gallery below: