Ben was born in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, the youngest child of parents who had emigrated from Poland in 1913. At school he was forced to write with his right-hand but was permitted to paint and draw with his left. He developed skills that won him a scholarship to The Willesden College of Art in 1934.
By 1943 was asked to participate in WW2 and was conscripted into an Irish regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He spent his war in Italy, then after National Service he enrolled at the Central School of Art, and then worked as a commercial artist in various studios, practicing skills in typography and illustration.
After he married Bonna in 1960, Ben moved to Whitstable and would in his free time typeset and print a number of Broadsheets and other items, using a small hand press. He was devoted to producing lino-cut engravings in the decades after his retirement. Taking sketches of Whitstable views, he would produce linocuts of them; aspects of the town and people in it.
Ben contributed pictures to the national Society of Wood Engravers exhibitions, before having exhibitions of his own work in the Whitstable Museum and at the Canterbury Beaney gallery. By the time of the Retrospective exhibition Ben and Bonna had moved into a residential home near Canterbury. Ben died on 9th January 2016, 15 months after his wife.
Text and images taken from ‘My Dad Ben Sands’ by Matt Sands as first seen in the Whitstable Views Community magazine. Read the full article