Sunday, 10 February 2008

Interview with Benji Whalen


a)Benji Whalen


a)San Francisco

q)Contact info...?


q)How did you get started making art?

a)My father is a painter, my mother a puppeteer, my grandmother was a pianist. So, making has always been part of living.

q)How would you describe your art?

a)Prayers for my enemies.

q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

a)Honestly, I am stimulated by almost everything. I live in a city - in the course of a couple of hours, the awe, love and disgust I feel for everyone and everything I see gives me all I need for a day in the studio. I think I am probably like many artists in finding existence itself pretty stunning. As an artist you get to create new existences, of a sort, making a world in your own image. Not unlike the way kids play - artists don't grow out of it.

q)What other artists inspire you?

a)My parents, for sure. After them, the list is always changing, thankfully. My first love was Bruegel, when I was a kid. Once I saw an illustration in a born-again Christian pamphlet showing a long march of people on their way to Heaven - at the back of line were the first Christians, and then representatives of all the other ages - some gloomy Dark Ages folk, Middle Ages folk, Renaissance folk, between then and now. In some ways I think of artists that way, in a line of their own - Bruegel is near the back of the line, and as you march along you end up finding something in common with almost everyone else in the line. Hopefully all artists go to Heaven, just like dogs.

q)Where can someone purchase your works?

a)These days, February 2008, my representation is through the Danish gallery Mogadishni ( and the American Gallery Paule Anglim (

q)What is your main medium of choice?

a)That's like asking the bigamist to name his favorite wife - you've got to make everyone feel appreciated. I don't know if I've tried a medium I didn't like, and it's healthy to keep trying new ones. I am at home with clay, and thread. And oil paint. There's nothing else like it - it makes me happy just to say the words.

q)What are you working on now?

a)Some small gouache paintings on paper the moment, but mostly polymer clay sculptures.

q)What advice could you give to someone who wants to be an artist?

a)Make art and you'll find out if it wants to be you.

q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?

a)Reading, writing, drinking beer, running, getting indignant, kissing my kids, kissing my wife (one), looking at birds, watching baseball, thinking about creating art...

q) What does music, in its entirety, mean to you?

a)That's a big one, isn't it? My answer would change from day to day. Today, I would say that music is proof that, even as adults, we are easily redirected. Did you ever read the Tolstoy story, The Kreutzer Sonata? I recall the story is tragic, but mostly what I remember is the protagonist's argument that music is dangerous, because it profoundly alters our emotions. I can become 5 different people if I listen to 5 different radio stations. You could say that people have the personalities within them, that music is just giving them an excuse to release. But music is certainly an accomplice. Ozzy Osbourne got sued for this, didn't he? Another cultural icon comes to mind - Elmer Fudd in "Bugs' Bonnets" - with hats flying through the air, Fudd assumes the personalities of each hat that lands on his head. Music is really in charge.

q) What does art, in its entirety, mean to you?

a)Did I say music is in charge? Can I revise that? Well, music works for art. Everyone - music, literature, dance - works for art. Art is that which is made by mortals, yet breathes.
q) Are there some web sites that You would like to recomend? Artists, art communities, xxx,...!?

a)I'm pretty untraveled in that way - but some good ones I've seen lately include


Blogger Melina2811 said...

Buona domenica da Maria da Catanzaro

24 February 2008 at 00:25:00 GMT-8  

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