Meet Virtual Environments’ Visual Artist, Ben Hadfield
A staple at Virtual Environments since the business began in 2014, Ben has been responsible for almost every piece of creative developed for the VE catalogue thus far. From jobs in India to Germany to Melbourne, Ben’s work helps provide positive distraction to patients across the world. Our growth aspirations means we’re looking at new opportunities to further develop the US market.
Find out more about Ben, his growth into Virtual Environments, and his work with the company below.
How did Virtual Environments Begin?
Ben: Virtual Environments began in 2014 when Imaging Solutions created its own range of patient relaxation products and services in response to demand from clients who’d commissioned us for other projects. These early Virtual Environments products were originally part of Imaging Solutions’ Turnkey MRI Room builds which included as standard a skylight for each room before becoming a business of their own.
One of Virtual Environments’ core products are the wall murals. Do you remember which wall mural was your first?
The first Virtual Environments wall murals were for the opening of the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital (now the Queensland Children’s Hospital) within the medical imaging department, to help provide kids with colour, style, and curiosity during an otherwise stressful hospital experience.
How did you get into visual arts and design?
My mother is a practicing artist and was teaching art while I was young so I was born into a visual arts family. It was an easy decision, early on, to pursue graphic design because I knew it would be an interesting career.
Do you have a favourite Virtual Environments wall mural design?
My favourite Virtual Environments wall mural design is the space theme because I can really imagine the characters being part of a fun sci-fi story.
What’s your favourite piece of visual art outside of the Virtual Environments catalogue?
A particular favourite is the painting my mother made me for my 30th birthday which holds, as you can imagine, a lot of sentimental value. Otherwise, Jackson Pollock Number 1 is an inspiration.
Do Virtual Environments’ customers have a favourite design?
The most popular Virtual Environments design is the forest theme. Research shows patients recover faster when they can see nature depicted — as just as an image or a painting — so the forest theme is great for helping people get back to fighting fitness.
Which projects have been your most interesting/challenging installations?
Designing a wall mural for the Prince Charles Adolescent Development Centre was both interesting and challenging as the project was designed to help manage teens’ mental health as part of the Centre’s holistic work. I’m most proud of the Queensland Children’s Hospital oncology ward underwater theme project which rejuvenated the space and I’m proud of the patients’ joy at the final installations.
Do you create all the design for Virtual Environments? If not, where else do we source designs from and how do we go about curating these designs?
Not every project by Virtual Environments use my artwork however many do. For the other designs, we work directly with artists and curate great images and designs from their portfolios to help meet customer demand. Some customers do specify artists so we work directly with their requests as well.
Do you have a favourite Virtual Environments design that’s someone else’s work?
One of the major installations with someone else’s artwork is the Simon McLean installation at the Gold Coast University Hospital which looks great and has helped lift kids’ spirits even while they’re sick.
What does the future of Virtual Environments look like?
We’ve got ambitious growth targets for Virtual Environments for the next few years however we’re confident we can hit them as we expand our global footprint and continue to provide excellent service, product quality, and end-to-end installation for our customers. We’ve always got our eye on the future so keep checking back for new products coming soon.