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Benjamin Von Wong
Born November 14, 1986 (1986-11-14) (age 34)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Education McGill University
Occupation artist
Years active 2007 - present
Known for cinematography, photography, film, installation art

Benjamin Von Wong (born November 14, 1986) is a Canadian artist, activist, and photographer best known for his environmental art installations and hyper-realist art style. He is a motivational speaker and an advocate against Ocean Plastics He is also notable for creating several viral Social Media campaigns, including the most funded GoFundMe campaign which raised over US$2M for Eliza O'Neill, a sufferer of Sanfilippo syndrome.

Early life

Benjamin Von Wong is the son of Sing Wong and Jeanette Kho, both Malaysian Chinese immigrants to Canada, where he was born in Toronto on November 14, 1986. In 2007, Wong graduated from McGill University with a degree in Mining Engineering. Von Wong began his career working for Golder Associates as an underground mine planning and design engineer. In 2012, he left engineering to pursue a career in the arts.

Career

In 2013, he collaborated with Nikon and musician Andrew Kesler to produce the Nikon Symphony, a free ringtone made with $30,000 of dSLR gear.

In 2014, he was one of Flickr's weekly featured artists for his underwater photography taken in the Tulamben shipwreck in Bali, Indonesia.

In 2015, Von Wong was hired by cell phone manufacturer Huawei to demonstrate the capabilities of its P8 cell phone camera. Von Wong combined visual arts with pyrotechnics to create an image of a live model surrounded by fire without the help of Photoshop.

In 2017, Von Wong transformed a lifetime of Electronic Waste into art sculptures. These pieces were made from recovered electronics came from Dell’s Global Recycling Program. He also hung social entrepreneurs off a 30 story skyscraper in the Philippines after he was challenged by Nike to creatively promote its latest line of shoes.

In 2018, Von Wong built the world's tallest closet in Cairo, Egypt, made from 3,000 articles of clothing -- representing one lifetime of clothing -- standing nine meters tall. After the installation was disassembled, Von Wong donated the clothing to Egyptian refugees. In Corfu, Greece - collaboration with Greenpeace and aerialist Katerina Soldatou to illustrate the statistic: “Every 60 seconds, a truckload of plastic flows into the ocean”

In 2019, Von Wong earned a Guinness World Record for "Strawpocalypse," the largest supported art installation made from plastic drinking straws. Von Wong re-purposed used straws to raise awareness around the environmental damage to the ocean caused by plastics. He collaborated with the National Environment Agency and the Canadian High Commission in Singapore to create an art installation titled “Plastikophobia” made from 18,000 plastic cups for a solo gallery exhibition at the Sustainable Singapore Galleries.

Philanthropy

Eliza O' Neill Go Fund Me Viral Campaign

In July, 2013, Eliza O'Neill was a 4-year-old child diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome Type A, a terminal genetic disease causing death for most sufferers before they reach their teens. Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, had developed a gene therapy, but for clinical trials to take place, $2 million was required.

Wong and D.L. Cade then produced a video, in conjunction with the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation, which highlighted the plight of Eliza O'Neill and other Sanfilippo syndrome sufferers, as part of the Go Fund Me Saving Eliza campaign.

Shark Shepherd Viral Campaign

In 2015, Von Wong launched an online campaign petitioning Datuk Masidi Manjun to create a shark Sanctuary in Malaysia. His viral campaign featuring free-diver Amber Bourke tied underwater while sharks swam around generated over 80,000 petition signatures. The photos were created in Fiji.

Recognition

  • 2019 : Guinness World Record for "Strawpocalypse," the largest supported art installation made from plastic drinking straws.
  • 2018 : Top 11 Branded Content Masterminds Who are Elevating the Art of Marketing by Ad Week
  • 2015 Saving Eliza: The Video that Could Save a Little Girl s Life... and Thousands More - Shorty Awards Best Use of Video (Nominated)
  • 2015 Power of Photography AP Awards 2015 Winner
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