Ben Pearce’s work is instantly recognisable. The Kiwi sculptor and contemporary artist explores memory and childhood through wood, second-hand objects and bronze. We chat to him about how he’s finding iso-life.


Stranger Things

Ben, tell us — the best TV show/s you’ve recently binged.

I pretty much binged Stranger Things over a few weeks. Being an 80s kid, that series was like watching my childhood (except for the Demogorgon). Next on my list is the new The Dark Crystal series, Age of Resistance.

What film would you highly recommend to watch while pretending to work from home?

If you haven’t seen Okja (by Bong Joon-ho) on Netflix, do. It’s an old one but really sweet.

What book has helped you get to sleep during the quiet nights of late?

I’m working on 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. It’s a three-volume novel so plenty of sleep-induced reading. A very strange series which is beautifully written.

Name your go-to comfort dish to ease the worst feelings of existential despair.

You can’t go past an Alison Holst self-saucing pudding. Goodbye anxiety and panic, hello chocolate.

We all need new procrastination tools in these uncertain times, what exhilarating hobby have you recently added to your resume?

We recently were given a piano owned by a lady who passed away. It’s really neat having a big hunk of wood and metal in the lounge that makes music. I’ve got a learn-to-play app and starting to work it out one key at a time.

Increased mindfulness is essential in this climate — name your top tips for getting out of your head.

Tell me about it. I get heaps of relief out of making things. Just keeping at a task for a bit. I’m building myself a new studio and it’s nearly enclosed ready for wiring. Other than that, just sitting outside with a cup of Dilmah [tea] listening to the ambient sound works. I guess that’s a form of mediation, just letting thoughts and sounds pass through and out of your mind.

Give a piece of advice to those trying to work from home.

Keep your mouse hovered over the mute button in Zoom. With constant conference calls going on and kids running around fighting the button is my friend. I’m also a heavy breather too when I’m thinking hard so, again, mute is my friend.

What does a post-Covid-19 world look like?

I think prior to Covid everyone was just running non-stop at some invisible goal. I think everyone, although struggling, is relieved in some small way that maybe life doesn’t have to be so hectic. We might be able to work from home more, have more time for our hobbies and family. Maybe we might learn to be in balance a bit more with nature and our own dreams.

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