Trudy Benson b. 1985 in Richmond, Virginia is an abstract artist, who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Benson received an MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work could be seen in several solo and group exhibitions.
In her visual art, Benson mainly works with acrylics and oils to create her unique style of thick and textured layers of paint combined with a misty-like backdrop created through the use of airbrush.
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What are three attributes to describe yourself?
Obsessive, concise, and introverted
Advice to your 15 year-old self?
I would say don’t throw paint in your bedroom and don’t listen to your high school art teacher
Why did you choose to be an artist?
I wanted to be an artist ever since I was around eight. Drawing was always my favorite thing to do, so I set my mind on it at that young age and then never really changed it.
Is anyone else in your family creative?
Both of my parents are creative, but neither of them are professional artists. My mom draws a little bit and my dad wanted to be an artist, but he never thought it would be a viable career choice, so he doesn’t really do it, but now he writes stories.
Are there certain artists, styles or movements you’ve drawn inspiration from?
I think a big person is Elizabeth Murray. Neo-expressionism and Abstract-expressionism are really important to me and also Frank Stella— his kind of layer stuff— and Matisse.
Can you talk about technique?
Right now, with the paintings I am making, I am visualizing them as collage in a way, even though they are all made up of paint. I use a lot of masking tape and I’m thinking about things with different layers.
As far as materials, I’m using sprayed, acrylic paint and then also just acrylic paint applied with a brush and then I use oil paint with a roller and oil paint out of a tube, and some oil based enamel. Everything is applied as different layers, so then there’s no mixing up paint on the canvas.
Have you found that a lot of artists recently have been using that airbrush technique?
Yes, I think there’s a lot of people using the airbrush now. I guess artists have been using it since the 70s I think, maybe even before.
Even realistic artists like Jamian Juliano Villani is using it, but just for different reasons. I think it’s certainly a trend. I was in a show called Go With the Flow, but the other title I always thought of it as is Spray Today or something, because I feel like everybody was spraying in that show. I think it’s also just another tool we have. Maybe I’m too close to it to think of it as a trend.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
I don’t really have a specific message with the work. I guess something that I’m always thinking about, that I want viewers to think about, is that all the paintings are made by hand. There is something that you can get from seeing a painting in person that you can’t get from seeing it through the computer or photograph.
I think that is something that I always want, that aspect that I want to always have in the paintings, that there’s a surface and there’s a way of seeing a painting, not even just the surface, but maybe what you see first or the way your eyes move around the canvas is different than if it was all kind of flattened out.
If you weren’t an artist what else would you be?
Crime scene investigator
What was the last show you went to that really stuck with you?
The Elizabeth Murray show at Canada. It was mostly a drawing show. I think it was like a thinking show, it had one or two major pieces and the rest were drawings and collages. I think it was really interesting to see that part of her work which I hadn’t really seen before.
Do you have any quotes from previous artists which are important for you? A few words of wisdom that you hold onto or remember?
“The thing is, it’s really hard to paint.” – Elizabeth Murray
How would you describe the word “ART”, What does it means to you?
Art is really anything you want it to be. I can smear ketchup on a plate and it’s art. Deciding that something is art, makes it art.
Do you have any upcoming shows?
I have two shows basically a day a part coming up in the Spring. One is in Geneva at a gallery called Ribordy Contemporary and then the other one is in Paris at Bernard Ceysson. So, I’ve been working on both shows at the same time.
Interview by Art of Choice ©