Gavin Benjamin is a multifaceted artist who combines original analog photography and appropriated images with collage, paint and varnish to create rich, luxurious works that call back to baroque traditions, but use elements of current culture to provoke, critique, and explore.
Born in Guyana, South America and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Benjamin received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. During this time, he interned with legendary portrait photographer Arnold Newman. Gavin also worked as black and white and color printer at LTI and Baboo color labs. From there, he went on to work at Edge Reps and Exposure NY, agencies representing commercial and advertising photographers, prop stylists, and hair and makeup artists. After Exposure NY, he went to work as a freelance production coordinator/photo editor with stints at Kenneth Cole productions, Esquire Magazine, Hachette Filipacchi Media, and Good Housekeeping magazine.
“I am very inspired by the works of artist during the 15th to 17th centuries, especially the Dutch and Italian masters. There is something very romantic, dark, mysterious, and brooding about these works. This time period fascinates me whether it’s use of deep luxurious colors, intense light and dark shadows. The juxtaposition of objects, or composition of forms that tell a story”.
Benjamin investigates the intersection of culture, media, politics, fashion, and design, addressing questions that (continue to) confront a man of color in America today.
“My work reflects everything that I’m thinking – it includes everything that I love and everything that I’m challenged by. It’s honest and curious and bright and thoughtful. And sometimes a little dark. It’s all of the things that made me want to be a professional artist in the first place.”
His work has appeared at the Slick Paris, Sotheby’s NY, Architectural Digest Home Design Show, Art Hampton, Affordable Art Fair, Scope Miami, Palm Beach Modern, Context Miami, Context NY, Art Silicon Valley, and the LA Art Fair.