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Life & Work with Carolina Benavidez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carolina Benavidez.

Hi Carolina, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in an apartment in downtown Montevideo, Uruguay, which was filled with books and paintings from local artists that my grandpa collected.

My family instilled this love for drawing and story-telling in me from a young age. When I moved to Arizona in my teen years, Art class was my refuge from the hardships I was going through as an immigrant young woman. Even though I couldn’t speak English yet and communicate with others effectively, I won awards in my Ceramics and digital art classes that motivated me to later pursue Art.

During my last year of high school, I moved to Phoenix and attended Metropolitan Arts Institute, which was the most creatively nurturing environment for me to develop as a watercolor painter. My Art Teachers were instrumental in me becoming an artist, and inspired me to do this for others. Teaching Art to children in both public schools and private settings gave me the stability I needed to start showing and selling my own art.

When I’m not teaching, you can find me working on my online shops, commissions, or spending time in nature which is my biggest source of inspiration.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Starting off a creative business as a woman in today’s culture is difficult. In my experience, women artists were underrepresented when I was taking University classes for my BFA. Representation is important, and when and where I lived there were not many women owning successful creative businesses. A lot has been changing and improving for us in the past few years, and I am very excited to see that this is looking brighter for younger generations of girls.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I specialize in Watercolor Painting and have been told that my paintings have a dream-like quality. My current body of work consists of explorations of edible mushrooms as a path to healing our bodies. It also explores fungi in general as a way to restore our environment. I started by learning about new mushrooms at the Farmers’ Market and exploring their textures with my paint brushes, and now this obsession evolved into foraging for edible mushrooms that I paint before cooking. I prefer to set up a still life with them and paint them from life.

I was recently asked to complete an oyster mushroom commission for a fellow pasta lover’s kitchen, and nothing makes me happier! I love Mother Earth and truly believe that we have the power to heal through her. As a way to decrease my ecological footprint, I repurpose used frames and take joy in customizing them according to the painting, or what my clients would like for their homes.

What does success mean to you?
I think success looks different for each individual, depending on what they value. For me, success means that I get to do what I love with my time.

Every day I wake up, meditate, and set the intention to have fun, whether I am foraging and painting in the woods, traveling, or facilitating art experiences for my students. If I finish a painting, I am successful. If I take a series of beautiful photographs, I am successful. If a student tells me that they love their project, I am successful. One of my mentors in the past told me that my most successful pieces were ones in which he could tell I was playing, not overanalyzing them. I think there is a place for being analytical and learning the formal design elements, but the artworks that viewers are going to want are the ones that show more spontaneity and magical qualities.

Pricing:

  • Original watercolors currently range from $35 to $60
  • Custom repurposed frames are an additional $15-20
  • 8×10 prints range from $15-$20
  • Mushroom commissions start at $40 depending on paper size

Contact Info:

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