YabYum Seven: Benjamin “Benjam” Goens

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All photos courtesy of Benjam
Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Benjamin Goens aka “Benjam”, and I produce hand-cut stencil artworks with spray paints. I graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Art History. My initial plan was to teach art history or pursue a career in an art museum or gallery setting and soon after graduation I ended up in a director position at a Scottsdale Gallery.

The gallery experience afforded me the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the art business/world, as well as learning priceless techniques from world-class artists, which quickly led to the realization that I had an insatiable desire to create.

I dabbled with various mediums and ultimately began experimenting with stencils. I cut my first stencil back in 2008-2009, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I really started investing the time into developing my craft, hand-cutting single layer stencils. During the last three years I dedicated myself to learning to cut intricate stencils to create detailed depictions of my subjects and began production of my own multilayered artwork.

I use anywhere from 4 to 20 layers in one image to create photorealistic tonal gradations in my imagery. Over the past couple years I’ve spent countless hours creating several commissioned works and portraits for private collections.

How did you get your start?

I simply told myself that I needed to paint enough pieces to participate in a show and when I had a body of work I took the next step and decided to submit to a call for art to be part of a RAW Artists group show in November 2014. After the success of that first show, I was approached by a curator to be part of another group show shortly after. I made a personal goal to have my first solo exhibition within a year and accomplished that with the opening of my solo show “Cutting Edge” at the Funk Lab in November 2015.

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“The Journey” – mixed media and spray paint on framed canvas – 2017
What inspires you?

I’m inspired my my life experiences and variety of sources I encounter on a daily basis. My work always starts with a photograph that I gravitate towards. During my university studies I fell in love with the art of classical antiquity and European masters, so that is the foundation of my inspiration, but I’ve always held an obsession for the raw grit of hip-hop culture, graffiti, and street art.

The contrast of old-meets-new has always interested me, so I draw inspiration from past designs, ideas, and innovations. I often find beauty that exists in images of the past and attempt to reinvent them by bringing them into a new light on my canvas.

My inspiration truly stems from my family. My wife and my two young daughters are eternal reminders of why I choose to relentlessly chase my dreams.

What do you like about AZ?

I was born and raised in Arizona. I’ve grown to love what this home has to offer. The art community is constantly pushing development and evolving, which I’m thrilled to be a part of. I feel like there is an abundance of creativity and a wide array of sources to collaborate and draw inspiration from with in the Valley of the Sun and I’m looking forward to seeing it shine.

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“Pointe of View” – mixed media and spray paint on canvas
Where can we see you(r) work?

I’m currently showing several new works in “Benjam: What The Cut”, as the first featured guest artist with the collective at {9} The Gallery.

I will be part of an upcoming group show as one of the TLC Community Foundation Artist Grant recipients, opening First Friday, March 2nd at Sisao Gallery during Art Detour.

I have two paintings currently on display at the Muswellbrook Regional Art Center in Australia, as part of the of the 2017 Stencil Art Prize touring exhibition.

You can also view my painting “Play Ball”, acquired for the permanent collection at the Mesa Historical Museum, as part of the AZ Spring Training Experience exhibit.

You can follow my artistic journey on social media on Facebook / Instagram: @benjamzart.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I want to contribute to the betterment of society and, if I’m privileged enough to do that through my art, then I can’t ask for anything else other than leaving a legacy behind for my family to be proud of.

What is your mantra?

Give back more than I take.

~

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“The Walk” – spray paint on wood panel – 2017
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Sprayed stencil set for “The Walk”
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“Harmony of the Hearts” – mixed media and spray paint on canvas – 2017
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“Quatre Impromptus” – mixed media and spray paint on canvas – 2018

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