Week 3: Artist Interview – Josh Benz

Benz answers students' questions about his piece,   "Josh and Jackie."

Benz answers students’ questions about his piece, “Josh and Jackie.”

When did you start painting?

I asked Josh when he started painting. He responded saying that he painted in high school and would also draw things and make animations. It wasn’t until community college that he really expanded his artistic scope, experimenting with acrylics and different, darker artistic subjects such as monsters. He also added that he made some poor oil paintings in the beginning of his career, but says he is improving and plans to keep on going.

When do you work best?

I then asked the artist when he worked best artistically. He told that he tended to work best in the middle of the night between 12:00 AM and 8:00 AM, which at times caused him to be late to class. He said he works better at night because of the lack of sunlight, the presence of which would cause light pollution in his paintings. He followed this up by saying that he enjoys his breaks at night where he walks outside to soak the serene Long Beach atmosphere.

What inspired you to create your painting, Drinking Party?

I asked Benz what inspired him to make his painting, Drinking Party. He answered saying that he wanted to do a self- portrait and wanted something more interesting for this piece. Using himself as a model, he surrounded himself with his large collection of stuffed animals, in essence having a drinking party with them, and made a self-portrait looking in the mirror with a bottle of UV Vodka. In his self-portrait, I noticed that the UV Vodka written on the bottle was reversed, which I brought to his attention. He told me that he did that to avoid copyright issues and to make a direct self-portrait where it was clear he was looking at a mirror.

"Drinking Party" by Josh Benz

“Drinking Party” by Josh Benz

Conclusion

Of the many paintings and pieces of art in the Marilyn Werby Gallery, I found Benz’s pieces to be among the most interesting. I enjoyed the general atmosphere of his paintings and enjoyed the theme of common, everyday life that I saw was reflected in them, shown by his pieces Josh and Jackie and Drinking Party. I also found interesting the painting and sketching style of his works, in addition to his very casual approach to his work.

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