Benedict dos Remedios
Really digging the abstracted forms and energy of Benedict dos Remedios' powerful waves and textural wax paintings. We chat about learning to paint one's own landscape and continuing to develop new ways to gain insight into one's work, and reach beyond the studio. More at the links below!
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First, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Benedict dos Remedios. I live in NYC and my studio practice is based in Brooklyn. I grew up in Australia, but have spent a lot of my time in Barcelona, and for the past 8 years in New York. My family heritage is a mix of Spanish, Japanese and Australian, hence the surname dos Remedios meaning 'of the remedies’ in Portuguese, which is where our family was originally from.
When did you first discover art? Was there a moment when you knew that it was something you had to make yourself?
I remember being taught how to draw by a old family friend who is an artist and it has been a major part of my life ever since.
What has your art education been like, whether formally or informally?
I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in a very formal and historical Art school based in Sydney called the National Art School. I also assisted an artist based in the country side near Barcelona part time for a year.
Tell me about your recent wax paintings! How did you land on this idea?
The wax painting series evolved from a series of very large mixed media works I made for a private commission here in New York. These large scale works were images based off found photos of giant waves being surfed by professionals. The wax paintings are a result of experimenting with materials not normally used in the studio to create a surface to work with that had meaning and insight as well as texture and color.
What is your process like?
I work on small primed wood panels which are 8” by 10”, these give me the hard surface i need to be able to apply the wax the same way you would with a surfboard. The first layer is usually a base color in acrylic, then I apply the surf wax and then the final layer is done with a spray gun. Some works are finished with a tool called a wax comb which cuts lines into the surface of the wax and exposed the base colors and other times I have hit the surface with a blowtorch to help melt away parts of the top surface away.
When choosing colors or compositions the process is always evolving and the sizes allows the work to stay fresh and not over worked.
Do you do any research prior to beginning new works or series?
Research comes in many forms from scanning the web, to constantly keeping a camera on me, in order to catch moments or something inspiring. Each series of new works usually informs the previous body of work, so the research is a continued interest in a subject matter that may have moved me to start a series of work..
What is your studio like?
I have a great studio which looks out over a BQE freeway, which has a constant flow of traffic heading in each direction depending on the time of day.
What do you think is the most challenging or daunting part of pursuing an artistic practice, whether creatively or professionally? What do you do to get through it?
To me the most challenging part of the artistic process today is balancing the studio practice, the social element and life in general and now the social network as well.. I am constantly having to work harder on the time out side of the studio to help my practice.
What is the best advice you've received? Have you gotten any advice that you're glad you chose to ignore?
I haven't received any advice that seems to directly help my work, but I do believe advice from someone who has had success in some way in the art world is worth listening to.
As Georgia O’Keeffe said, no one could teach her how to paint her landscape; they could only teach her how to paint the landscape they see, so she had to work at teaching herself how to paint the landscape she saw.
What do you do if you find yourself in a creative rut?
I always have multiple projects working at the same time to help keep me out of a rut..
What do you want to learn more about, or challenge yourself to master, in regard to your practice?
I have recently challenged myself to get back into drawing as I found myself not practicing it enough out side of the studio.
What do you need most, or value most, as an artist?
I value gaining feedback from my peers I think this is a very important part of the process that is often forgotten about.
What are you working on right now?
I am still making wax paintings, and have a new series of works based on plant life.
Anything else you would like to add?
I think your platform is a new and always-evolving part of the art world, which has never been offered in the past and is a great help to emerging artist. Thank you.
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