Updated: Aug 14, 2021
Benjamin Cabral: Beads! Lots and lots of beads!
圖 Image courtesy｜Benjamin Cabral
翻譯 Translated by Joanne Hsieh
來自南加州聖地牙哥，現居芝加哥的藝術家 Benjamin Cabral，用「珠珠」本身的無邪，及其象徵的「勞作」、「手工」，搭配筆下的花朵人，結合線條、色塊、幾何元素和小朋友的手繪風；天真的畫面中，充滿細膩的情感。從小就喜歡做手工藝的 Benjamin，成為正職藝術家後選擇用珠珠作為主要創作媒材，延續他對手工藝的熱愛。他自傳式的作品中，融合數位和手工藝，緬懷青春、重現懷舊的畫面。雖然 Benjamin 本人很靦腆並且經常窩在工作室創作，觀者卻可從其色彩繽紛又童趣的作品，窺見他內心豐富的浪漫情懷。
From San Diego, California, Benjamin Cabral’s bead paintings celebrate everyday melodrama, and the mourning of youth, through the lens of the digital and craft which he loved and enjoyed as a child. Each painting is extremely time consuming, as a result we are presented with a visually satisfying experience that takes the troubles off our minds.
Can you tell us where you’re from and What are some of your favorite things to do there.
Benjamin：「我來自南加州聖地牙哥（San Diego, California）。聖地牙哥最有名的就是美麗的海灘和美好的氣候。雖然這裡沒有很盛行畫廊，卻有一些很棒的美術館和藝文空間。我很喜歡 聖地牙哥當代美術館 （MCASD），以及一間叫做 Bread & Salt 的藝文空間。」
I am from San Diego, California. It’s a really pretty city in Southern California which is most known for having really nice beaches and great weather. While there isn't a huge gallery scene here, there are some wonderful museums and project spaces. I really love the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and there is a project space called Bread & Salt that's pretty fantastic.
How would you describe your art to someone who’ve never seen your work before?
Lots of beads, lots and lots of beads…
What is the significance of beads in your work?
Benjamine：「之前我的創作很多是關於青春期以及成長過程的經驗。我很想找出在概念上能夠符合這個創作主題的媒材。小時候我非常喜歡去 Michael's 之類的店（美國手工藝及美術材料雜貨專賣店）買手工美勞組盒回家做好幾個小時。所以我決定使用手工藝的珠珠來繼續創作藝術。」
I was making a lot of work that was about my adolescence and growing up. I was really interested in finding a medium that conceptually made sense with the themes in my work, and growing up I was always obsessed with going to Michaels and other craft stores and buying weird crafting kits and working on them for hours. So, it just made sense to me to continue that practice as an artist today.
What were your favorite activities as a child, and do they have any impact on your art making?
Benjamin：「小時候我超級喜歡歌舞劇。很多時間是花在彩排和在舞台上。這個經驗灌溉了我對於 “說故事” 的喜愛，而這也佔了我目前的創作之中很大一部分。」 I was super into musical theatre as a child. A lot of my time was spent in rehearsals and on stage. I think this instilled a love of storytelling within me that is very prevalent within my current practice.
Who inspire you? Your art heroes and/or Non-art heroes?
Benjamin：「很多人都對我有啟發性。我崇拜的藝術家有 Ryan Trecartin 和 Lizzie Fitch，他們的影音藝術作品總是讓我更想要跳脫一般思維，讓想法更創新。另一位是 Bunny Rogers，她的作品很棒。我爸媽和我的兄弟姐妹是我崇拜的非藝術家偶像。」 Lots of people inspire me. My art heroes are Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, their video pieces always make me want to think even further outside the box and push my ideas even further. Bunny Rogers is another art hero of mine, I just think her work is really fantastic. My parents and siblings are my non art heroes.
My work is really autobiographical, it’s about mourning youth, re-contextualizing nostalgia, all while looking at it through the lens of the digital and craft.
Can you tell us about your educational background and art related experiences?
Benjamin：「我曾在聖地牙哥一間很小的私立文理學院就讀，叫作 Point Loma Nazarene University。這所學校有一個很小但是情感緊密的藝術學院，讓我全心自在的創作。對我影響最深遠的一次經驗是我參加歐洲遊學團的時候，看到了許多精彩的藝術創作，特別是我去參觀威尼斯雙年展（Venice Biennale），奠定了我想要投入藝術創作的這個行業的決心。」
「研究所時我申請了了全國的各大美術學校，最後我選擇就讀芝加哥藝術學院，因為我喜歡這所學校的開放風氣，而且他們的painting department有龐大的教職員，我知道我可以得到很多元的建議和指導。我也是其中一些教授的粉絲。」 I went to a really small liberal arts college in San Diego called Point Loma Nazarene University. It had a really wonderful, small but tight knit art department that really allowed me to explore my practice. I think the most influential part of my education was when I went on a study abroad program traveling through Europe and seeing some of the best art. I was able to go to the Venice Biennale and that was the first time for me that I knew for sure that I really wanted to pursue art professionally.
(For grad school) I applied and interviewed at a bunch of different schools across the country, but I just really loved the vibe at SAIC (Chicago). I loved how big their teaching faculty is so I knew I was going to get a diverse reading of my work during my time there. I was also a big fan of some of the faculties’ work before going there, so I was excited to work with them.
Has living in Chicago influenced your art or in general?
Benjamin：「絕對的，可以輕而易舉地接觸到許多精彩的藝術品真的很棒。而且芝加哥的房租相較之下很便宜，讓我可以用便宜的租金租下大間工作室，繼續藝術創作，而沒有像住在紐約或洛杉磯所需的經濟負擔。」 Oh definitely. It’s been wonderful to have easy access to so much amazing art. Another big thing is the rent in Chicago is pretty inexpensive which has allowed for me to rent a really large studio where I can continue making without some of the pressures that come with living in a more expensive city like New York or Los Angeles.
How would you describe yourself?
I think I’m the complete opposite of my art. My work is super bold and flashy, but in my personal life I’m just pretty laid back and comfortable.
What do you do outside of studio practice?
My practice is super time consuming because of the labor intensive nature of the work, so I spend most of my day working on the paintings. but I do love reading and hanging out with friends. I'm pretty boring.
What are your studio session rituals?
Benjamin：「天氣好的時候我喜歡去密西根湖旁邊走走讓頭腦清晰，好安排一天的行程。然後我會去 Dunkin Donut 買一杯咖去工作室，我喜歡一邊聽有聲書或是podcast 一邊工作。」 When the weather is nice, I like to start the day with a walk down by Lake Michigan to collect my thoughts and make a plan for the day. Then I typically walk to Dunkin Donuts and get an iced coffee to take with me to the studio. I like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts when I’m working.
What are some obstacles you’ve encountered so far, in terms of producing art and making it work?
Benjamin：「對我來說最大的困難是在截稿日前完成作品，因為用珠珠作畫真的很花時間，通常比預估的還要久。而最難忘的經驗是第一次在畫廊展出。今年（2019）年初我在芝加哥的 Andrew Rafacz 畫廊展出作品，是我夢想中的畫廊之一，所以是一個很美又超寫實的經驗。」 For me the biggest obstacle has been completing the work on a deadline. Because of how labor intensive it is it often takes longer to complete the work than expected.
Favorite memory / experience as an artist so far?
Probably my first time ever showing my work professionally. Earlier this year I got to show at Andrew Rafacz in Chicago which was one of my dream galleries, so it was a really beautiful and surreal experience
What do you wish to achieve in 2020?
Benjamin：「我希望可以不斷創作並且靠藝術創作維持生計。」 I just hope to be able to continue making lots of my work and continue supporting myself off of my art.
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