THE ART PLUG EDITORIAL: Q&A WITH HARRY HAMBLEY
HARRY HAMBLEY & HIS “BEAN”
by Nicole Schubert
It all began with a splash of orange paint, an overnight binge session of cartoons, and a high school student frustrated with the everyday annoyances of school, teachers, and classmates. And now, this teenage animation sensation is making more than just illustrations, but jumpstarting a movement over Instagram with his unassuming and clean-cut, little “bean.”
Harry Hambley, or better known as Ketnipz to his social media followers, is storming the Internet with his signature character, who we can most often find digging into a slice of pepperoni pizza, on a mall madness adventure, or layering himself with a red sweater to brace the chilly weather.
“I really just wanted to make a character that was so simple and ambiguous that it wouldn’t come loaded with preconceptions,” said Hambley. “When a character is busy with details it’s hard for people to relate because they get hung up on its identity, but since the Bean is almost like a blank canvas, anyone can see themselves in it.”
Creating a character that goes through all the same “tiny” situations and “struggles” that the average person goes through on a typical day, Hambley showcases an illustration that not only is relatable, but is inspiring.
“If the Bean can get through all the daily BS, so can anyone else! I want my followers to know that all the work I make through Ketnipz is about promoting positivity and self-love, especially in this current social climate. I try my best to post daily on social media because I hope my work can be received as a small antidote to the toxicity of Instagram and Twitter. There’s so much negativity and conflict on these platforms, all I’m trying to do is cut into someone’s feed and replace the bad vibes with some good ones.”
And so he did, becoming the ultimate web comic success, invading the contemporary art world during Miami Art Week last month at The Art Plug Power House and on their fleet of vehicles sponsored by Lyft.
“It was very fun, especially walking around town and seeing your character plastered on a bunch of random cars! It made me feel very welcomed by the locals, especially on my first trip to Florida.”
Most recently, art collectors and Hambley’s cult of Ketnipz enthusiasts, can find his illustrations and paintings at Art Palm Beach, inside The Art Plug Power House, with an activation titled “Dinner With Bean” displaying his “Comfort Food” series in both print and sculptural form.
“Recently I’ve had a lot of fun drawing Bean alongside some of my favorite foods, such as pizza, ravioli, and toasties, but those foods are giant in comparison to the tiny Bean! So, naturally I wanted to continue this series by bringing the comfort food collection to life in 3-D, at Art Palm Beach with the help of the Art Plug team.”
Palm Beach crowds can expect to see a white dining room table fit for 8, arranged for a formal dinner dressed with plates, silverware, candles, and a fireplace mantle. Each plate will have highlighted sculptures of Hambley’s signature Bean, in no other than a bowl of tomato soup or caught in an oversized pink, sprinkled donut.
“I love how food can really improve someone’s mood, and wanted to make some work around that concept whilst playing on the phrase ‘comfort foods.’ This collection is really just about showing all the ways Bean can make foods into cozy snooze spots, such as nesting in the part of an avocado where the seed used to be, or sleeping under a layer of cheese in a pizza slice!”
And although this little Bean keeps getting wedged in life’s most unlikely situations, he keeps on smiling, letting you know you’re doing all right.
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