Ben Snell is a creative force whose works explore the meeting ground of technology and humanity while revealing the act of the creation as much as the production of the actual piece itself.

Ben Snell, Ritual Nature (still), 2021

Snell’s Ritual Nature intertwines the observer and the observed. The piece uses a sculptural interpretation of image-making that strips away the light and color of a photograph, leaving something raw and wild in its place. He was inspired by the ephemerality of digital artifacts as defined by code and how that contrasted with the beauty of an object’s physicality and natural decay.

With a newfound aura, Ritual Nature revels in the inherent value and humanity of digitally scarce objects, yet paradoxically consists of dispensable elements. The work exists not as a copy or a symbol of the physical, but as an entirely new object. While it’s reminiscent of the tangible world in form and substance, it speaks for itself with its own unique integrity and presence.

Snell writes, “Like a swirling cloud of gold dust suspended in moments of shimmering clarity, the piece points to our entropy, once stardust and soon to be…Following a year of trauma and despair, the process of going into nature in order to find my nature is an act of self-care in nurturing my creative flame — a metaphorical minting of my inner gold dust, ready to shine again.”

We talked with Ben Snell while he was creating Ritual Nature about his process and his connection to Gold Dust. Check it out below.