Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas & Interview

A glimpse of the ethereal here as we focus on Los Angeles based artist Roberto Benavidez and his glorious Hieronymus Bosch inspired Piñatas.

A wondrous weave of both Mexican and Medieval European influences, It’s not often one stumbles across work as fabulously genre-bending.

Intrigued, I contacted Roberto to find out more…

Roberto Benavidez - Bosch Bird no3

You have a wonderfully enchanting style, can you give an insight into your background and route to becoming an artist/sculptor?

I grew up a closeted gay boy in rural South Texas. There wasn’t much available in terms of art education apart from the performing arts so that is the route I pursued initially. I had always been drawn to crafts like sewing, embroidery and collage but it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I began to entertain the idea of pursuing a career as a sculptor. It really coincided with my coming out fully as a gay man and embracing what my true passions were. Over time I’ve moved from clay to metal casting, to paper, mainly sticking to figurative forms.

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

I’d rank your Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas as some of freshest work I’ve seen for a long time, where did the initial idea spring from?

Thanks, that’s very kind of you to say. I’ve had this idea for some time now. I’ve always been a fan of Bosch. The idea of blending this traditional Mexican craft with Bosch’s imagery was quite exciting to me, something a bit outside the typical piñata imagery. There is also the context behind each being rooted in sin so I thought it to be the perfect pairing. I also felt like this bleeding of cultural artistic forms was in a way representative of me as mixed-race.

Roberto Benavidez Bosch bird no2

Obviously no need to reveal all, but can you possibly reveal some of the processes involved in rendering your creations, and an idea in the timescales involved?

I use traditional piñata making methods to create my piñata sculptures: a paper mache form covered in crepe paper fringe. Since everything is done by hand it takes many hours to create one piece. The 6 foot Bosch giraffe took a good week to sculpt and about 2 – 3 weeks of fringing. I work alone and can be quite obsessive, so over time I’ve come to where I place each individual piece of serrated fringe separately, which is a crazy thought but the results can be spectacular. Even the creation of the fringe alone is very time-consuming, sometimes combining multiple layers in many steps to achieve a desired color or texture – all before even applying to the paper mache form.

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

In addition to your 3d work your obviously equally accomplished as a 2d Artist, do you have a preference for one or the other or are they intrinsically linked?

I much prefer sculpting to 2-d work. It is something that I have learned comes quite naturally to me and I trust my instincts more in the 3-d form. Most 2-d projects I approach more as studies.

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

Is there a particular piece your particularly pleased with, and why so?

My last piece is always my favorite. It sometimes feels like my connection to a piece wanes the further time moves me away from the creation of it. I find I am always excited for the next piece – thankfully this does not carry over to my personal life. 😉

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

Do you work with any digital aids or are the processes entirely analogue?

Well, I am able to print very small details from The Garden of Earthly Delights because there is now a large file available online – does that count? I usually use printouts and comps of images to use as reference for most of my sculptural work. But there is no 3-d scaling work or anything like that.

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

Could you give us a clue to future projects you have lined up or wish to try?

It’s hard to say what project I’ll be working on next. I have many concepts in mind and will see what project pulls me.

Finally, do you have any upcoming Shows / Exhibitions coming up? (and if so where)

Not at this time but I hope to have news about that relatively soon?

Many Thanks, Roberto!

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

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As a footnote to the feature and a testament to the supreme craftsmanship Roberto deploys, here are some of the painted creatures taken some of Hieronymus Bosch’s original nightmarish masterpiece ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’.

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

 

 

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Finally to see more of Roberto’s breathtaking creations and check his latest work visit his portfolio site at robertobenavidez.com or follow via instagram.com/roberto_benavidez

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The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel

A strangely skewed 18th century rendering of the “The Tower of Babel” the famous mega-structure from antiquity designed to be as tall as to touch heaven itself. Note the top of image and the falling bricks and hod carrier, according to the accompanying article a day of mourning was declared whenever a brick fell from the top of the tower, this of course due to the immense effort and time span in ferrying it up there… alas no mention of remorse for the hapless builder!

Not sure of the Artist, exact date or origin of the painting, please let me know if you do…

Image is scanned from the 70’s publication Man, Myth & Magic more about that here at Wikipedia.

Tarot

Tarot

[nggallery id=4]

“The strange and beautiful Tarot cards form a system of communication through symbols, showing the relation between God, man and the universe; the symbols act as stimuli to the imagination and it is for each student to interpret them for him or herself….” Taken from Man Myth & Magic Issue #100

Full post to follow soon…

Werewolves

Werewolf

Werewolf

Werewolf

The Werewolf mythology depicted here in three Old World Etching/Woodcuts. These scans are taken from a lengthy essay featured in Man Myth and Magic Issue #107 ( from around 1971?).

Article synopsis: “Stories of men having the power to change themselves into ravening beasts have gained currency in almost every part of the world; a universality which suggests that the under-lying idea emanates from deep within man’s own mind”

Mention Werewolf and it’s impossible not to think of scenes from John Landis’s 1981 Horror / Black Comedy An American Werewolf in London particularly the stunning metamorphosis sequence and the immortal lines “Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors – Beware the moon, lads”. This article predates that film by 10 years or so, and references material back to antiquity, most interesting is it’s discussion on the mental illness known as Lycanthropy  a kind of insanity in which the patient believes himself to be a beast, especially a wolf. Although this condition was diagnosed as far back as the 16th Century it had little effect on the superstition,  the articles surmise is that known instance of werewolves attacks and tyranny probably had more to do with the rapists, maniacs, and serial killer’s of the day…

The Scans relate to: (Top and Center) The Werewolf of Eschenbach, Germany 1685, said to have preyed on children. (Below) Werewolf attacking a man, from a 15th Century German Work.

Full article scanned and hosted over at Flickr: http://twurl.nl/drh3qo

Man Myth & Magic – Cover (1)

Man Myth & Magic - Siegfried Killing The Dragon

I’ve been running a little bit low on original Blog resource material until yesterday when a trip to my local antiques centre yielded a selection of this obscure magazine publication ‘Man Myth & Magic’ with it’s tagline’s: ‘An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural’ & ‘The most Unusual Magazine ever Published’

Man Myth & Magic was a UK based publication that ran for 112 weekly issue’s starting in 1970 – as mentioned the magazine feature’s many Illustration’s ranging from quirky woodcut’s of Ye-olde spooky folklore; Werewolf’s, Witches’s, Demon’s through to double page spread reprint’s and analysis of the work of master Artist’s/Illustrator’s such as Albrecht Dürer, Matthias GrunewaldAubrey Beardsley and many more…

The cover art used here is Teutonic Mythology  ‘Siegfried Killing The Dragon’ taken from a 19th century German edition of nibelungenlied.

Encylopedia of Superstitions

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the_sabbath_st_james_the_elder_comabating_the_diabolical_enhancements_of_a_magician

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Fleet Foxes LP Cover

Apologies for the lack of activity as of late… Here’s an expansion on Netherlandish Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525 – September 9, 1569)

The top image is a scan of an Occult/Supernatural charity-shop-book-special; by special I mean that is seems there’s always a surplus of these type of books, be it ufo’s, unsolved mysteries or archaeological anomalies. The cover featured here dates from 1974 and is the GB edition of “Encylopedia of Superstitions” a hardback which chronicles fabled British superstions from Adder’s Tounge’s & Apples to YellowHammer’s & Yew Tree’s (no Z’s are listed)…

The jacket design by Ralph Mabey is a coloured reworking of a Sixteenth Century engraving composed by Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder entitled “The Sabbath” depicting Saint James the Elder combating the diabolical enchantments of a sorcerer. Pieter Brueghel was a printmaker and painter, best known for his landscapes and particularly for his depictions of Dutch / Flemish Peasant scenes. In fact one of his best example’s ‘Netherlandish Proverbs’ (1559) has just been recycled into sleeve art for Seattle based indie/folk group the Fleet Foxes (below).

Netherlandish Proverbs (also known as The Blue Cloak or The Topsy Turvy World) depicts a land populated with literal renditions of Flemish proverbs of the day. Of the 100 or so featured several have now faded to become archaic though many have since transmigrated into English and are in common usage, see if you can spot: “swimming against the tide”, “big fish eat little fish”, “banging one’s head against a brick wall” and “armed to the teeth”. Interesting also to note that the Fleet Foxes sleeve in fact won the MTV:UK 2008 Album Art Prize, presumably Pieter picked up the prize posthumously….. See the full original art here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bruegel_Proverbs.jpg

Pieter Bruegel the Elder is also famous for paintings such as his brooding depictions of  The Tower of Babel – see and read more about him here @ Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pieter_Brueghel_the_Elder