Ever since I was nine years old I’ve wanted to be an artist. I suppose it’s because children are attracted to powerful things and art always struck me as being very powerful. I had prints of paintings by Van Gogh all over my room when I was in middle school. I don’t know where I got them- probably from a calendar- but I found them inspiring.
In school, I did well in art but I always had my own art outside the classroom. Mainly, I loved to draw. I like the ways ideas evolve as I draw. My own curiosity keeps me going. What is it that I am after? The inventiveness of art and the hold it has on my own imagination and spirit captivate me.
I attended The Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, Maryland studying drawing and ceramics. Later, I did an M.A. in Greek history at The University of La Verne, Athens, Greece. My schooling helped to broaden and deepen my love of art and history. It also helped me to find work as an art and art history teacher in a number of different places around the world.
Perhaps the major influence on my work has been the gradual evolution of my style that looks like knitting in paint. This came about as a result of purchasing a pair of knit gloves in Istanbul. I was attracted to the simple patterns and the texture of the gloves so I decided to see if I could copy the “knit” look in paint. I used gouache watercolor as it is easy to change and is a logical extension of drawing but in paint. The “knit” look gradually became my signature style. At one point, Pendleton Woolen Mills was attracted to my work and created 16 tapestries in wool based on my designs.
Like any form of self-employed work, art can have its’ frustrations. However, the longer I stay with it (30 years now) the clearer it becomes to me how important art and culture are to our lives. I feel fortunate that I have been able to do it as long as I have. I hope to continue producing art for as long as I am able.
~ Paul Alan Bennett
See Paul’s art website at paulbennett-art.com