BA (Hons), Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London, 2002 - 2005
Benjamin Arnold (b. 1983, Newcastle upon-Tyne, United Kingdom) is a British figurative painter based in the Hudson Valley, NY.
For nearly fifteen years Benjamin has been working as a portrait painter, exploring his fascinations with the unique characteristics of the human face, the power of image-making, and the material properties of oil paint.
Benjamin has taken a somewhat unusual journey with his art, incorporating both avant-garde and traditional educations in the arts. Having started out as the only painter on a multi-disciplinary contemporary art degree course (studying Drawing "as visual thinking" at one of Britain’s leading art schools), and self-taught, he focused his energies on interrogating the relevance of realist painting to the modern day, whilst probing his own limitations with the medium. Somewhat surprisingly this led him away from the multi-figural compositions based on contemporary events he was making at the time, and towards the most timeless subject in all of art; the human face.
In late 2011, after several post-graduate years painting portraits and developing his aesthetic sensibilities Benjamin moved to Florence, Italy, with the assistance of a prestigious Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) scholarship, granted on behalf of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, in order to experience a much more traditional education; studying the methodologies, techniques, & materials of the Old Masters. Here he painted exclusively from-life for three full years, his attention focused on capturing the ‘visual impression’; that is, the world as it is taken-in by the human eye rather than the flattened and distorted images captured by the lens of a camera.
Subsequently, and having relocated to the United States, Benjamin’s art has evolved into a more contemporary approach to representing the human form, melding his interests in naturalism and realism with the pictorial possibilities of abstraction and design. He is particularly interested in painting as a physical act, and paintings as objects as much as images. As such his work is known for its textural playfulness, and the sitter’s relationship to the work as participatory rather than merely as subject.
Benjamin is the Community Artist-in-Residence at Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. He is currently working on a themed suite of large, ambitious paintings and prints using the figure of the traveling musician or troubadour as a locus around which to explore numerous interconnected stories and visual ideas.
For more information please about the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust visit www.qest.org.uk