Ben Mackey is an artist, and pretty neat

In high school, people always ask you what you want to do with your life. It’s never an easy question to answer, but as we get older, it comes together more and more. Sophomore Ben Mackey has already started to figure out what he wants to do, linking his passion for drawing back to childhood memories and influences. The WEB: What all are you involved in at Ames High? Ben Mackey: I’m not involved in much. I’m on an I-Ball team that lost one game like, 184-4 last year. Hopefully we’ll continue all four years and not win. W: What kinds of things are you involved in of outside of AHS? M: I like to draw a lot. W: What kind of drawings do you do? M: I like to draw comic book stuff, like superheroes. I like to draw kind of gruesome, kind of scary stuff, too. W: How did you get into drawing? M: I started drawing when I was like two or three. My mom would get out these big sheets of paper and I would draw all over them with big crayons. Then I saw Jurassic Park and I started drawing dinosaurs non-stop and I’ve been drawing ever since, it just kind of stuck. I even broke my arm in the 5th grade, but I just started drawing with my left hand. It didn’t really permanently impair my drawing. W: What kinds of mediums do you use? M: I use colored pencils, markers, paint; 2-D stuff. W: Do you draw in your free time mostly, then? M: When other kids are just watching T.V. I am too, but I usually have to be drawing as well. I can’t just sit there and do nothing. W: Have you gotten much recognition for your art? M: There was a kind of contest for the new Ames Middle School logo. Lucas Borg and I designed something for that and it won. I won a Nickelodeon magazine contest recently, too. W: What was the contest? M: The contest was to redo a kind of blobby, uninteresting comic and make it colorful and creative. I was one of the four first place winners who got their entry put into the magazine. W: Have you done much with your art at AHS? M: I’ve taken 2-D art and I’m in Drawing 1, and I’ve thought about trying to be an artist for The WEB. W: Is art something you want to pursue as a career? M: Yeah, I’m looking at art for a career. Maybe something in graphic design, or maybe an art teacher. An art teacher for high school kids, not younger kids. They don’t necessarily seem like they want to be there. High school kids are more into it. W: Have your parents influenced you a lot? M: Well, my dad’s an architect, but he does more with rulers. I’m more free form, not as linear. W: Have there been any art teachers you’ve really enjoyed having? M: I liked Mr. Heinen [Ames Middle School] and Mrs. Conley [Roosevelt Elementary] a lot. Mr. Heinen’s personality just meshed well with mine. Conley got me into color. Before her, I didn’t use much. W: Are there any artists you really admire? M: I admire a lot of comic book artists. Scottie Young [The Human Torch, Venom] has an angular style I really like and Robert Kirkland’s [Invincible] work has a lot of straight line, it’s really stylized. I’m inspired by movies and T.V. and comic books more; I don’t get a lot of inspiration from traditional art, like what’s in museums.