Illustration, design, skateboards, and the outdoors are just a few of Benji Andringa’s passions – and he’s been on a journey to infuse his love of these things into his career as an artist since he graduated from Durham College (DC)’s Graphic Design program in 2012. Known by his alias, Lowclass, Benji’s dream is to create and share his artwork anywhere and in any medium, from festivals and murals to logos, apparel or ads.
“Every project I work on, big or small, is an accomplishment in my book,” Benji notes. “My art is not about money, it’s about designing cool things for rad people.”
Benji experienced his first career achievement as a student when he won first place in a contest through Boler Mountain designing a logo for a snowboarding company – it was a dream come true. This experience lead to his next achievement, an internship through his program at Reactor Art + Design and later a job at specialty printing company Lunar Caustic Press, where he learned hands-on skills in the print side of the design industry.
Equipped with a well-rounded skill set developed during his time at DC and through his first few industry jobs, Benji had the confidence and ability to point his career in a new direction. After spending a year operating old presses, handmixing Pantones and working on design and branding projects; Benji left his life in Toronto for adventure in western Canada.
“I left the city to be a part of something more tangible. I didn’t want to be sitting in an office designing snowboard ads, I wanted to be on top of the mountain, strapping in,” recalls Benji. “I quit my job and drove my van out west with my portfolio in hand.”
From Ontario to Alberta and then to British Columbia, exciting years came for Benji. He displayed his artwork in the World Ski & Snowboard Festival’s art exhibition State of the Art, won contests, participated in live-art events, collaborated with west-coast artists and landed a gig designing a snowboard for Trapper Snowboards.
In 2015, he began working for Somewon Collective, a clothing lifestyle brand in Revelstoke, B.C. There he assisted in redesigning their logo, designed apparel and advertisements and looked after screen-printing and production for Somewon’s parent Company, Integrated Apparel.
Two years later, he left to begin freelancing fulltime, working with a variety of companies both locally and internationally, such as Free Spirit Sports from B.C., The Hemp Trading Company in the United Kingdom, and Plucky Girls in Sweden, among others.
Although he considers himself as an artist who mostly utilizes pen and ink to illustrate, he acknowledges the value of having completed a graphic design program as it has allowed him to broaden his skillset and his opportunities.
“Sometimes as artists, we become our own worst critic and this can keep us from completing a task from start to finish. Durham College taught me design techniques that allow me to turn the drawings in my sketchbook into content for digital and traditional platforms, and also how to manage and complete creative projects on a deadline.”
Benji is excited about what the future holds. He is currently working on a graphic novel, spending time travelling overseas to visit clients and always looking for more walls to paint.
“I get inspired every day by my own philosophy: work hard, break rules and have fun.”