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Artist Profile: Benjamin Van Eldik

Posted: 2pm 12 Dec 2019

Benjamin has been producing art since he was a child. At age 13 he won third prize in the local art show exhibition. At age 17 he started an apprenticeship as a spray painter/airbrush artist. Completing his apprenticeship and aged 22, it was time to move on and for Benjamin to start his own business “Murals by Ben”. He painted murals in homes, for local businesses, and for bike and car enthusiasts, at the same time selling his small airbrush works and oil paintings at the local markets. Age 23 Benjamin joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Here he put his artistic skills to good use as a surface finisher (spray painter) painting camouflage on planes for the Royal Australian Air Force.

With a deep desire to grow both professionally and artistically, Benjamin, after 2 years of night school graduated in 1987 as an engineering draftsman. This career change was a key milestone in Benjamin’s life as the union of “Ben with Pen” had the most dramatic effect on his artistic perspective. He became mesmerised with the power of the black and white (monochrome) imagery that he could create. During the day he produced extremely detailed and complex aeronautical and mechanical drawings and by night he drew and sketched in ink, inspired by the works of Normandy Lindsay and his artistic hero Leonardo Da Vinci.

During the late 80s and early 90s, Benjamin produced and sold hundreds of artworks in all mediums and in many different styles. As a result, his friends and colleagues from around Australia and internationally were starting to collect Benjamin’s works and request commissioned pieces.

In 2002, Benjamin and his family arrived in New Delhi India. Over the next 3 years, he travelled and experienced the culture of Asia and the sub-continent. During many long and lonely nights in many different cities he turned to his art and started created a significant volume of work. The culture, art, artist and colours that Benjamin was exposed to was being absorbed, and would have a dramatic influence on his art. It saw him advance from his beloved monochrome works to vibrant colourful works, and from realism to modernism and even explored the world of abstract. Having accumulated lots of works over 3-year Benjamin new it was time to exhibit.

In September 2005 Benjamin had his first International Solo Exhibition at the Capital Art Gallery in New Delhi, with an exhibition titled “India – Journey into Colour” (the snow ball had begun). The success of his exhibition did not go unnoticed and he was invited/sponsored by Australian Trade Commission (AusTrade) to exhibit at India’s biggest Art & Design show. This was followed by another solo exhibition at the Market Cafe which lead to an invitation to be the guest foreign artist at an exhibition titled “external recurrence” which was a show case for some of India's most modern and contemporary artists.

In 2006 it was time for Benjamin and his family to return home to Australia. Once home Benjamin wasted no time in re-establishing himself into the arts community of Canberra, and joined the artist collective known as M16 Art Space. Here Benjamin with his own studio and gallery began a new chapter in his artistic career creating and selling works every weekend.

In 2008 Benjamin moved to the Middle East, to the city of Riyadh in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Benjamin's enthusiasm saw him hold 5 sell out exhibitions, which given the regions cultural limitations and views on art was quite an achievement. These exhibitions reflected the colours and landscape of the surrounding deserts as well as capturing some of the mystic of Arabian culture. Several exhibitions were created using just Coffee and Tea as the medium.

Unfortunately, Benjamin’s time in the Middle East had a profound effect on his health and on his return in July 2010 he was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D). The P.T.S.D not only devastated Benjamin professionally and personally it robbed him of his desire and ability to create for some 6 years.

In 2016, Benjamin and his wife moved to the rural community of Mt Mee in Queensland Australia. Here he was again inspired to start creating again as part of his ongoing healing process. Benjamin set up his own private studio and gallery at Mt Mee (MtMeeArt@hotmail.com). Benjamin has since joined the Moreton Bay Arts Council and has entered works into several local exhibitions. Benjamin has participated in several exhibitions, an exhibition in Brisbane (Brisbane town hall) as part of the “Recovered Futures Exhibition” organised by the Richmond Foundation Queensland (rfq), an exhibition at Redcliff (Redcliff Entertainment Centre) as part of “Mt Mee Artisans Exhibition” showcasing the works of local Mt Mee artists. And every month Benjamin takes his smaller works to the local Mt Mee Markets.

In 2019, Benjamin entered a worldwide art competition run by SeeMe based in Brooklyn New York. Benjamin was very proud when his submission “I am love and a life-giver” was selected in the top 100 and displayed by SeeMe in New York. This piece along with its companion piece are on display at Bohemian De’cor 1/38 Williams Street, Dayboro, Queensland, Australia.

Now Benjamin would like to welcome you to his latest exhibition “Journey into Colour - Australia”. This is a solo exhibition at Entangled Living in Dayboro Queensland from 4 -22 Dec 2019. His hope is that these colourful and vibrant images spark a moment on joy within the viewer, as Benjamin continues work on peeling back the black veil of his condition.

Catch Benjamin at his upcoming event, Journey Into Colour or contact him at MtMeeArt@hotmail.com

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