Benji Alexander Palus is the Traditional Artist Spotlight winning artist for the month of August 2020. He is an award-winning artist based in Louisiana, USA.
Benji's Solo Art Exhibition will be featured on the website for the month of August 2020. The gallery will promote Benji and his work on the Fusion Art website, individual online press releases to hundreds of outlets, email blasts to over 5,500+ buyers, collectors, galleries and art professionals, in online event calendars, art news websites and through the gallery’s extensive social media outlets. Fusion Art's objective is to promote the Artist Spotlight winning artists, worldwide, to art professionals, gallerists, collectors and buyers.
Please read Benji's Biography and Artist Statement below as he describes his history and inspiration in his own words. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see his exhibition.
If you are interested in purchasing any of these award-winning pieces, or to see more of Benji's work, please visit his website.
Also, please visit Fusion Art’s YouTube Channel to see Benji’s Solo Art Exhibition Video.
Thank you to all the artists who participated in the Artist Spotlight competition and congratulations to Benji and the other Artist Spotlight winning artists.
Benji Alexander Palus was born in 1972 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the middle of five siblings, having two older brothers and two younger sisters. Noticing early his interest in drawing and colors, his parents had him tested for artistic ability when he was just two years old. Testing at very high levels, Palus was encouraged from this young age to explore and develop his artistic nature.
In 1995, Palus received an associate’s degree in commercial art, but was disillusioned by the world of paste-ups and copy art. He decided that he wanted something more, so he dedicated himself to the study and practice of fine art, specifically in the style of realism. Palus is mostly a self-taught artist, having no formal training in fine art or in the medium of oils, in which he exclusively works.
In 1999, Palus moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he currently resides. For over twenty years, Palus has studied and honed his style, inspired by representational artists from every era. Palus' own body of work focuses on figurative compositions of individual women, exploring the beauty of feminine nature in its unlimited palette of complex moods and emotions.
Palus began his professional career in 2010 at Studio 831, part of New Orleans' Dirty Linen Night, a collaborative event of French Quarter art galleries. He has since taken part in group shows around New Orleans, and was juried into the Seventh Annual International Guild of Realism Exhibition at Jones and Terwilliger Gallery in Carmel, California in 2012. In 2015, he made his solo debut at Creason's Fine Art Gallery in New Orleans.
Palus' successes and works had been largely staggered in the years following the tragic diagnosis of leukemia in a child whose life he closely shared and whom he loved dearly. Kendall, the son of his closest friend and most prolific muse, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007. Over the next four years, Palus fought alongside Kendall and his family against the disease. Palus was one of Kendall's primary caregivers, often with him daily at Children's Hospital of New Orleans for weeks on end. Since Kendall's death in 2011 at the age of six, Palus has struggled professionally and personally with long bouts of the grief and depression that follow in the wake of losing a beloved child.
Palus has found renewed passion in his art, yet the loss is deeply reflected in his work. Scenes of innocence, calm, and playfulness are depicted in colorful yet dark tones, as if he is desperately seeking to reconcile the wonder of childhood with its inevitable loss. He is currently working on his first large series of work crafted around a single theme, for which he has adopted the straightforward title, Mood Lights. The series will explore the emotional associations, effects, and nuances of color on both the subject and the viewer through a variety of colored light, with the hope of tapping into the deep, subconscious realms of dreams and of childhood memory.
My work is a life-long study of feminine strength and beauty, experienced through the bond of close friendship. My models are beautiful, but for me the greater inspiration comes from what lies beneath the physical beauty. The women that I paint have sublime, enthralling souls inside their shells. Strength, courage, wisdom, independence, kindness, vulnerability – tempered but not destroyed by deep suffering; this is true beauty to me. These are aspects of humanity that are worth exploring and preserving, that we can look up to and admire, and be guided to find in ourselves. What else could so move me to pick up my brushes and share with the world?
I work exclusively with a small group of friends who embody these qualities, a handful of enthralling women that I've been fortunate to have found and befriend over the course of twenty-five years of searching for inspiration. I do believe that beauty is everywhere, but I've always felt the need to keep my artwork very personal. I've never painted a face that I haven't seen crying, laughing, sleeping; looking back at me with care or amusement, sometimes anger. For me, the pillars of a strong friendship are the pillars of a successful work of art. Meeting that rare person that I simply need to paint is an exhilarating experience. I still remember those moments, though some passed twenty years ago or more; that jolt to the system, an intuitive awareness that something extraordinary has happened - the spark which ignites inspiration. There is a certain sadness that hides beneath the laughter and smiles, but is always reaching out to those who will see. That connection sometimes grows into friendship – not a physical relationship but an emotional intimacy - trust and understanding, a comfort. This is what I try to put onto the canvas.
I work in my small apartment. My bedroom is my studio. I enjoy the simplicity of what I have: my easel, paints, and brushes set up in a corner of a room with spotlights next to my bed. I work exclusively with oils in the style of realism. I sometimes make small thumbnail sketches to get a feel for what I want to paint, but I usually craft loose compositions in my head and work them out directly on the canvas, making changes and corrections as necessary as I paint. I use photographs for references, working only from photos that I've taken myself. The photo shoots are sometimes candid moments over coffee or lunch, and sometimes they are meticulous affairs where I've planned every detail of the location, wardrobe, makeup, lighting, etc., specifically tailored to suit a particular model. I like to work on several paintings at once, so I can bounce back and forth, constantly seeing them with fresh eyes. I do my best work in the mornings, rising from bed and immediately setting up for the day's painting before I've even poured my first cup of coffee.
Fusion Art, LLC
Santa Fe, NM