YG15 Showcase: Ben Grandgenett
By Brett McKenzie on Nov 10, 2017
Shining the spotlight on this year's Young Guns winners
Young Guns 15, arguably the most prestigious portfolio-based competition for creatives under 30, is going out with a bang! This year's winners were unveiled last week, and it's safe to say that this is one of the most eclectically talented classes in Young Guns history.
Next week is the traditional Young Guns ceremony and party, (you've scored your tickets, right?) and nearly all of this year's winners will be travelling from across the globe, across the country, or across the Williamsburg Bridge to attend. Ahead of the festivities, the One Club for Creativity is highlighting many of the winners you'll be able to meet.
Based In: Brooklyn, NY
Originally from: Wahoo, NE
What does winning this award mean to you?
Being named to the class of Young Guns 15 is a huge honor. I’d first heard of the awards as a sophomore design student at the School of Visual Arts. It was inspiring to discover a group of creatives who were making such incredible and different work. This year was my second time entering. Having another year of experience being able to grow as a designer and art director made a huge difference for me submitting this year.
"This year was my second time entering. Having another year of experience being able to grow as a designer and art director made a huge difference for me submitting this year."
What sorts of challenges have you encountered to get where you are today?
I was really lucky to have the opportunity to start working at The New York Times Magazine immediately after graduating from college. Being such a young designer in an art department with a history of having some of the best talent in the industry working there, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make work that I felt was at a level worthy of being in the magazine. The biggest challenge for me was getting to a place where I had developed the confidence as a designer to really be able to do the type of design I aspired towards. Working under people like Gail Bichler, Matt Willey and Arem Duplessis really helped me get to that point.
How did you decide what to enter?
The biggest challenge was really about choosing the projects that I felt most reflected who I am as a designer. I wanted to make sure that each project spoke in some way to a different side of my work and process, and that one submission didn’t overlap too much with any other.
Can you name any past Young Guns winners who you look up to?
There are so many past winners who I admire, and a few that I’ve been fortunate to come into contact with who had a real impact on me as a designer. James Victore (YG1) has been big inspiration for me. I was a student in his class at SVA, and learned so much about what makes a good idea and how to bring yourself into your work. I’m a big admirer of John Gall (YG1)’s work as a designer and art director as well and was lucky to be a student and an intern of his. Lastly, I would be remiss to not shout out Caleb Bennett (YG10) who was working in the position I am in now as Deputy Art Director of The New York Times Magazine when I first started there. He consistently sets the bar for thoughtful, refined editorial design and art direction, and has been a great friend and mentor to me.
What keeps you going, creatively speaking? What drives you and your work?
Finding new ways to approach an idea or design, and taking on new challenges is consistently thrilling to me. There is something really satisfying about starting a process and not entirely knowing where you will end up. Every project presents an opportunity to learn something new and take something to a place you hadn’t necessarily been before.
Ben and his fellow winners will be honored at the Young Guns 15 Ceremony + Party, taking place on Thursday, November 16 at Highline Stages in Manhattan's Meatpacking District.
Young Guns 15 is presented in proud partnership with Shutterstock, Levene/Leavitt and MTV.