Art to Bring “Destination Imagination” to Life

Art to Bring “Destination Imagination,” to Life

 By Courtney Anderson Saylor, WaterFire Sharon Contributor

Ben Mirabelli with his artwork.

Ben Mirabelli’s work is inspired by the fantasy universes created on page and screen.

Most of Ben Mirabelli’s work is inspired by the fantasy universes created on page and screen—but don’t call it “fan art.”

Chosen from a number of artists to represent the drawing medium, Mirabelli will have a booth at Saturday’s WaterFire Sharon. His art brings the theme of the final festival of 2016, “Destination Imagination,” to life.

The Charlotte, NC, illustrator works primarily in pen on chipboard. His drawings often feature beloved characters like Harry Potter and friends, the Time Lords of Doctor Who, the heroes of Star Wars, and many more.

Of course, the 36-year-old high school art teacher is a fan of these books, shows, and films. But Mirabelli considers his pieces more “pop art” than anything else.

“There’s nothing I have produced … that I have not been a fan of,” he said, adding that he’s actually declined to do some art based on popular shows he isn’t in to.

Art by Ben Mirabelli

Art by Ben Mirabelli

Rather than drawing on paper, Mirabelli opts for heavy chipboard because he likes the feeling and weight of it. And the finished result has more depth. In fact, if you run your hand over an original piece, you can feel every line, he said.

Mirabelli will have original pieces as well as affordable prints of his work for sale at WaterFire Sharon.

“Anyone who has a love of art/ pop culture will find something at my booth that will tickle their fancy,” he said.

On his website, people can see examples of his work. They vary from a series of drawings of trees and ancient gods to portraits of characters like Gandalf the Grey and bookmarks featuring the cast of Game Of Thrones.

Growing up in New Jersey, Mirabelli got interested in art as a child. He credits his father and grandmother as early influences. He went on to study illustration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Later, he got a teaching degree and has been working in the classroom for 11 years.

“Art education is important for two major reasons,” Mirabelli said. “Appreciating and understanding art broadens young people’s horizons. And making art awakens a critical thinking and skillset that’s harder to unlock in other subjects.”

In addition to fine art pieces, Mirabelli’s work can also be seen on book covers and card games like the soon-to-be-released “Alchemy 101.”

Although he’s been sad to part with a few originals, having someone want to buy his work is a very cool feeling.

“The originals are priced to move,” Mirabelli said. 
“I would rather someone have something that they really love than me have an extra couple hundred dollars. When money gets involved, art becomes less about personal expression and more about commerce.”

Mirabelli is honored to be invited to come to Sharon to show his work and he’s looking forward to sharing it with the crowds at WaterFire.

“I hope to meet a lot of new people and get a lot of my work out there to a completely new audience,” Mirabelli said. “This event will actually be the farthest I’ve taken my work, geographically.”

WaterFire’s marketplace opens at noon Saturday, September 24th. More than sixty-five artisans and non-profit organizations will cover the downtown streets from the intersection of E. State and Dock St. through W. State Street and Main Street.


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