Ben Schuh

Whether it be the "Cheers from Des Moines" mural,  cruising along Polk Blvd or painting a nearby building or shipping container you will find Ben.

Tell us about your childhood. My childhood was split between Dayton and Fort Dodge. My parents always made sure there were opportunities to learn knew things, travel, and play sports even though I wasn't very good at them. Highlights of my childhood included: math bee championships, a go kart without a motor (long story), and an opportunity to spend multiple weeks in Buenos Aires. 

Why do you call Des Moines home? Des Moines is a great home base for so many reasons. But the biggest benefit that comes to mind is that it's not too large or too small. As a medium sized city the benefits include: strong art scene, a world class art center, thriving downtown, and low cost of living. Des Moines is centrally located and makes it easy to travel but keeps the month to month expenses relatively low. 

What was your first job?  My first job was working at Fareway where I bagged groceries, stocked shelves, and pushed carts.

What’s currently keeping you busy?  I am constantly looking for opportunities. Currently I am working on a number of projects in and around Central Iowa. My current proposals include a number of murals, installations for local businesses, and multiple private commissions. 

"Each project is unique and it is my goal to make my work memorable."

How did you get into designing and making murals?  In terms of getting into creating murals I typically look for requests for proposals. The process for me to design and make a mural is fairly straightforward. I do research, build digital comps, review options, and build proposals. After that, it's all about working with the clients. Each project is unique and it is my goal to make my work memorable.

Where would you want to see a mural whether that be by you or another artist? I would love to see the city of Des Moines pull together murals under the Grand Ave overpass on Fleur Drive. Consider this my public offer to take on the project at a fair & competitive price.

Your designs have a very unique but uniform style, who and or what influences your style of design?  My designs are inspired by my surroundings, travel, linear elements, and math. Although my subject matter changes, I have been able to maintain a sense of consistency through process. 

"I try to make time to relax"

Walk us through your typical weekend?  The concept of a typical weekend is somewhat foreign to me as I am constantly working or thinking about projects. For those reasons, I try to make time to relax, but sometimes it requires taking time off instead of weekends.

Top three apps you currently use for and at work. Go! Adobe Vector Draw because of it's endless potential for me to do sketches on the go. Photoshop as it allows me to collage images for reference purposes. Adobe InDesign for layouts of projects, proposals, and promotional materials. 

From one maker to another what is your tip or advice? Learn to talk about your work or hire somebody to do it for you. All too often artists don't understand the importance of communicating with potential clients or even sharing their story. 

"... the trees and houses steal the show."

Convince us to visit one of your favorite places in the Des Moines area.  Polk Blvd. Year round this is one of my favorite places in Des Moines and not just because it leads to the art center. It's hard to describe just how awesome it is, but the trees and houses steal the show.

If you could grant the Des Moines area one wish what would it be? This one is fairly simple as it relates back to my favorite artist, Claes Oldenburg. Recently when I was in Paris I had the opportunity to visit his 'Bicyclette Ensevelie (Buried Bicycle)'. It was a touch overwhelming as it had been neglected and pastures had been added around it. I told my bride that I would love to see it moved to Des Moines where it would be appreciated. 

Derek Jensen