Canadian artists Ben Johnston and Pony want to help inspire you to Flex Your Design with Samsung

by W. Andrew Powell
Samsung's Flex Your Design contest

What inspires you? For the would-be artists and designers out there, Samsung has an opportunity to show off your skills, passions, and creativity with a special contest inspired by the Galaxy Z Flip4.

Samsung Canada partnered with Canadian artists Ben Johnston, Gabrielle Laïla Tittley (also known as Pony), and Mega McGrath for Flex Your Design, a contest to create unique phone case designs for the stylish and sharp Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4.

Johnston really enjoyed using the phone to get his idea for a design that would be inspiring.

“The phone is awesome. It has such a nice, nostalgic vibe,” he said. “It’s really cool how the technology has come so far forward.”

Artist Ben Johnston with his Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 design
Artist Ben Johnston with his Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 design

“The last few years I’ve been playing with a lot of dimension and bold colours, so I did want to incorporate that into this project as well,” Johnston said. “I think going with a bold message like love, it’s universal across the board, and I’ve done a couple of large scale walls that way, and I found people have been really receptive towards it.”

Creating a design like this, he wanted it to be “short, concise, and really impactful. Once I’ve got my template or rough dimensions, I’ll start sketching things out really roughly on paper, a notebook, a napkin or anything that’s in front of me.”

“From there, I go to the computer and start revising and playing around with things. Once I have a design I’m happy with, then I’ll start tweaking all the colours and maybe do 10 or 12 different colour variations to see what I’m most happy with and what looks the most impactful.”

For Pony, she took her inspiration from her personal life, and how she looked at the year so far.

“It was a harder winter and spring, and I just wanted to put a little bit of sun and joy and lightness in the summer,” she said. “I was looking forward to this summer season and I just wanted to be light and fun and cute; that was basically the idea with this one.”

Her art and design are often inspired by her optimism. “I I try to make luminous, hopeful, and realistic art, and at the same time to actually convince myself that there is something to hope for, and to make art for people who struggle with keeping faith, in a state of mind where they don’t feel alone and where there’s something to look forward to,” she said.

“So I’m trying to reassure myself with what I’m creating, and reassure people who feel like me at the same time.”

Johnston also had great advice for anyone creating a design for the contest. “I try to just have fun with each project because I find that if it starts to get too serious, it loses the point after a while. So I think you just have as much fun as possible. There is no wrong way to go about creating a piece of art or design.”

“And run the design by your friends and see which colours they like. No matter what part of your career you get to, I still bounce all my ideas off friends and people who don’t do art or design.”

Artist Pony with her Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 design
Artist Pony with her Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 design

For Pony, her art is inspired by being true to herself.

“People creating and telling their story in the most authentic way, and speaking authentically about their feelings… it can be really healing, because that’s the way it is for me.”

“I don’t make my art for others, it’s for myself, but it’s mostly because my feeling of purpose come from the fact that I feel like maybe someone’s going to laugh or relate to the image, and they’re going to feel less alone in that moment. That is precious for me, in my life, absorbing art from other people.”

Are you ready to Flex Your Design? If you’re 16 years of age and older, enter for a chance to win before 11:59 PM on Tuesday, June 20, 2023. You could win one of three Galaxy prize packs including $2,500, a Galaxy Z Flip4, a Galaxy Watch5, and a Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.

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