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Q&A with Ben Levine

A conversation with Ben Levine, who graduates in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in studio art and a second major in marketing.

How is college different than you expected?
When I got to WashU, I intended to major in business and then go work in finance. During the height of the pandemic my freshman year, I took a black and white film photography class with Jen Colten. The darkroom became a sort of sanctuary, a place where I could escape the isolation and gloominess of the pandemic. Ever since then, I continued to immerse myself in the Sam Fox School’s opportunities — getting a job at WashU’s photo lab and eventually declaring art as my primary major. It’s scary to think how different my life could have been had I never taken that class. Every day I am grateful I did.

Photography work by Ben Levine

What’s something new you tried?
Something that drew me a lot to WashU was the ability to explore so many different courses of study. These past few semesters, I’ve really tried to immerse myself more in WashU’s music classes. This semester I’m taking a class on analog synthesis and it’s so fun getting to use all these incredibly rare instruments. It’s a really cool skill to have, and I’m excited to see how I’ll incorporate synthesis and sound design into my art practice.

What are some of the biggest life lessons you learned in your time here?
If you don’t feel like you’re on the right path, listen to that gut feeling. Life is too short to put off exploring the things that interest you!

Final critique photo art practice fl23.JPG

Image courtesy Ben Levine.

Picture of me at my des lee opening

Image courtesy Ben Levine.

Methods and Contexts class field trip.JPG

Image courtesy Ben Levine.

Methods and Contexts Class Self Portrait 2023.JPG

Image courtesy Ben Levine.

Pictures with friends at our Des Lee opening.JPG

Image courtesy Ben Levine.

Ten years from now, what do you think you’ll remember most fondly about WashU?
The community, especially in the Sam Fox School. I’m so grateful for all the shenanigans, group trips to art openings, and the late-night pizzas before critiques. Everyone is always learning from each other and is so curious to see what you’re up to. 

What are you planning to do next?   I’m really grateful to have received a scholarship to attend a photography class this summer at Anderson Ranch in Colorado. Later this year, I’ll be moving to New York and starting a fine arts rotational program at Sotheby’s. I can’t wait to reconnect with friends I’ve made in the city and immerse myself in New York’s incredible art scene!