Ben Short, Sci-Fi Artist

On the first Thursday of every month, Fresno artists get a chance to get their names out there and, more importantly, turn the public on to their creative work. Art Hop has proven itself year after year as the first stop in many very successful careers. One such success story is sci-fi artist Ben Short.

Short started off in the Fresno City College art program but left because he was “always pushed in a certain direction and I knew I had something else in me, and this was it.”

He then moved on to the San Francisco Art Academy but left shortly after because of financial issues and it was “too difficult to manage,” Short said. “I got so many parking tickets, it’s not even funny because I was always running behind.”

After dropping out of art school, he went on to paint murals in Sacramento. But it wasn’t until moving back to Fresno and meeting his wife that he got into sci-fi art.

“I learned that someone could make a living as a sci-fi artist, a character designer, a monster maker,” Short said. “That’s when I went nuts. I was like, this is what I have to do.” He has now been a sci-fi artist for eight years.

The world of sci-fi art is vast; what is in the artist’s mind can be brought to life, whether it be making someone into a monster, designing monsters, or as in Short’s case, creating monster sculptures and characters that are so detailed they almost look life-like.

So what inspires a sci-fi artist like short?

“I was originally inspired in the fantasy direction by “Dungeons and Dragons”, and then I got into ‘Vampire the Masquerade’. I get a lot of inspiration from fantasy books and fantasy games,” Short said. “I watch old horror movies, like ‘Hell Boy’, I’ve watched it a million times but always find new inspiration from it, also ‘Legend’, or ‘The Labyrinth’, things like that.”

However, what was revealed at the last art hop is that Fresno artists are struggling a bit more than artists in other large cities. Art hop doesn’t get nearly enough recognition around this community. Art is barely coming out of the shadows in the Tower and Mural Districts. So, how does this impact a talented artists like Short, who creates one-of-a-kind and sometimes unusual pieces.

The answer is — it affects him like the rest. Short said, “It’s been difficult to actually make a living. The art community is just now coming to light.”

He said aspiring artists should consider taking extraordinary steps.

“Move out of Fresno,” he said laughing. “Seriously though, marketing is key. Mainstream is key if you want to make a living. If you don’t mind not making a living, then do what you want.”

Short is currently trying to sell all his work so he can start on a new project based more on reality. If you are into the Sci-Fi or Horror genres and want to see more of his work check out his website

He stays optimistic. “If you want to change the world,” he said, “then by all means, do it the hard way.”