Given Name: Bennett Ewing
How would you describe your artwork?
Although I'm known to illustrate, do ceramic figure work, metal sculpture, storytelling, comedy screenwriting, and song writing, my primary medium is found wood sculpture. What I do with the medium is probably technically considered assemblage art and is created from found wood of all geographic biomes so far accessible to me. Subject-wise my prime focus has been realistic scale faces, so far mostly relief (comprised from virtually unaltered wood found in its natural state,
that is to say non carved nor colored). Although I have stayed consistent with relief
face and head forms I do, however, have plans for 360 degree heads, busts and
full body projects. I have created over twenty finished works. I hope to eventually stray a little from the human form and scale, exploring where else the medium may take me.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
Found, weathered wood.
Sushi, more specifically Uni or sea urchin.
Tea or coffee.
Pizza or ice cream.
Where would you like to visit?
Scandinavia, specifically Finland. Scotland. Indonesia. Japan. Africa. Australia.
That would be naming only a few off the top of my head.
Favorite musical artist. Do you listen to music when you work? What?
Maybe Tom Waits. I love a lot of genres of music and have written 800 of my own
songs however I seldom listen to music when I work on art. I usually would regard
it as a distraction to my process, during which I like to tune everything else but the
art out. If I'm doing other kinds of work meaning work that is not art I enjoy music.
What makes you laugh?
Honesty especially in regards to shameful behavior or in self effacing contexts
makes me laugh. Inappropriate things, disgusting things, awkward things, silly or
goofy things, charming things, puns, juxtaposed cultural concepts or spin offs of
things that existed first make me laugh. The list goes on; they are all generally up
my alley as far as laughing goes. My humor has a very broad range.
How old were you when you started creating art?
I was a very focused illustrator starting at age 2. I pretty much never stopped drawing until adolescence when I got distracted by other mediums. I was always fairly prolific but became more hyper-creative in a multifaceted sense around college age, even more so in my late twenties. It took until my mid twenties to focus on one project long enough to get the results that would propel me to the level I've been at in recent years.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from life, where else? In order to narrow it down I suppose my inspiration comes from my materials. What nature makes in the form of wood and other materials is my main inspiration. In other words, the aesthetic values of wood in its natural states inspire me. Furthermore, I am inspired by the human face in its many varieties.
What do you do when you get artist's block?
I don't really get artist's block. I reach a point from time to time where I'm too exhausted to continue binge creating but as soon as I'm rested I can pretty much get right into it just by messing around with the materials. My sessions aren't always relatively productive but the more I mess around with possibilities, the more I get done in the long run. I usually have more projects cut out for myself
than I can handle and that goes for several mediums of art including music. I come up with ideas faster than I can start or finish them so a lot of things go on the back burners.
The other aspect of not being able to go any further with a given work in the found wood medium is running out of the right pieces of wood to advance. That's usually when I either switch to a different creative channel or set out to collect more wood from nature. Collecting wood is often a very physical, full day excursion, which happens around 3 times a week year round for the most part.
Who is your favorite artist?
Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh: Self portrait with a Gray Felt Hat
Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini
Describe your perfect evening.
The perfect evening might be doing a mix of something creative with no sense of rush, preferably followed up by something outdoors or in the company of interesting, witty inspiring people. It might involve comedy of some kind and
perhaps a hot tub or hot spring. I'd throw some good food, alcohol and
entertainment in there. It could involve adventure, romance, travel or something novel. The evening wouldn't be perfect if the variables that constitute perfect didn't change from one perfect evening to the next.
What would you be doing for a living if it weren’t what you’re doing now?
I would be in another creative career whether it be art of other mediums which I
already do but could devote more time and energy to. I have some inventions I'm
working on but writing for or doing creative development for movies or TV would
be a good fit. I also would consider focusing more on comedic song writing, hip
hop being my niche.
Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
If not Tom Robbins, the author, maybe Joseph Campbell, the mythologist. I choose to mention them for two different reasons. Mr Robbins as an affirmation of
a fun and creative life style where dreams can be manifested and there is an emphasis of experiencing the fullness of life. I've always had a big imagination and his work is a kind of celebration of imagination and what one can do with it. I think
he also has a lot of practical wisdom to offer.
Joseph Campbell has been influential by virtue of his various concepts. The example of the hero's journey, for instance, was helpful to me because it helped me see the bigger picture of my life and my path as an artist among other things. Much can be learned from myths, they are also fodder for the creative mind I think. I've learned from him to go with the flow of what I find interesting and compelling and to sample ideas in an interdisciplinary way.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead,
real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I would like to talk to whoever is in charge of big budget fantasy movie productions
so I could pitch the idea of my found wood faces coming to life as characters in a
motion picture story. If I got an opportunity to meet someone like that I could
probably also get all my other movie ideas proposed to the right people. If I had
funding and connections there's no telling how many ideas from music to fashion I
could get off the ground nor what I could continue to generate.
What advice would you give someone who aspired to be an artist?
Be dedicated in your practice, steadfast in your endeavors and more enthralled by the process than the end result. Be willing to work with and learn from others that can help you get the exposure you need to thrive. Don't expect it to be easy. Expect to make many sacrifices if you wish to be the best you can be. Harness your passion and be disciplined.
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