Ben Denzer

Making Then Meaning

Thesis book can be viewed here.
Thesis talk can be watched here.



Ben Denzer standing on cover of his 200 x 125 ft RISD MFA Thesis book


Ben Denzer's 200 x 125 ft RISD MFA Thesis book photographed from above

An MFA thesis book that’s bigger than the RISD library. 200 x 125 ft (opened) 100 x 125 ft (closed). Drone documentation by Stephen Cooke.

Serena 3


Serena 3, photograph of photos printed and collaged onto portrait sitter

Jenni 8


Jenni 8, photograph of photos printed and collaged onto portrait sitter

Colin & Lian, Portrait 1


Colin & Lian, Portrait 1, photograph of photos printed and collaged onto portrait sitter

Screenprinted Bills


Two dollar bill, silver and blue checkered patterned has been printed everywhere except for Jefferson's head

Printed Coins


Coins that have checker patterns UV printed on them

Printed Coins, 2022 - 2023.

Embroidered Bills


Two dollar bill that has checkered pattern embroidered onto it

Paper Money


Paper with dimes embedded within it.

Paper Money, 2022. 

More work on 


At RISD, I’ve been prompted to expand the scope and tools of my practice and to reflect on questions of meaning in my work. 
I spend my days making things, but I’ve never really had good answers to questions of why I make the things I make, or what their meaning is. I don’t think there are simple answers to these questions.
I think meaning comes from accrual. From the piling up of time, experiences, objects, and images. 
I believe in a sort of ‘coherentism,’ a theory of knowledge that says justification for beliefs comes from the coherence of a system, rather than on ‘truth’ emanating from any one foundational belief. Basically, it means that things prop each other up. I think if I make enough, connections will bubble up and meanings will follow. 
I think there’s a power to limiting the number of formal moves I make. I think I gain a legibility.
I think I get something from commitment and rigor. That as simple moves aggregate, within a series and across bodies of related work, they reinforce, and they buoy each other.  
I think with quantity, there’s less to explain because more is plainly apparent.
I think design is relationships. Between, people, histories, contexts, forms, etcetera. For me, graphic design is gathering, experimenting, collaging, iterating, and editing. I really believe in experimentation and play.
I think craft is a feeling of process. A felt intentionality, a clarity of relationships, a presence of some humanity.
I believe things mostly live in pictures, that documentation is as important as the work itself. I think images will outlive objects. 
I think I am a pile of images and words.



RISD Grad ShowRISD Grad Show

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