Benjamin Eric was born in the rolling hills of the Ohio River Valley in 1970 and migrated back and forth to the west coast of Florida where he would eventually receive his BFA from Ringling School of Art & Design. Interested in art from an early age, Benjamin recalls at age 4 how his first assemblage was a figurative effigy to the neighborhood mailman. "I saved my leftover peanut shells and together with sticks I had collected from the yard, I glued them onto a piece of construction paper in his likeness." Benjamin also had an adolescent fondness for maps and mapmaking. He would draw "blue prints" of his house, calculating the exact dimensions of each room and transcribe them onto recycled pieces of paper his father brought home from the trash bins at work. In each map a reference to some hidden treasure was usually incorporated: a toy, a small rock, virtually anything that he found special at the time. In 2009, Benjamin graduated an MFA program with honors at Cal State, Northridge.
Years later and widely traveled, Benjamin is still creating maps, although now they are not pencil lines on paper but rather painted objects representing his experiences in places he has explored. He believes that the displaced artist still retains an emotional connection with a location left behind and therefore these constructions stand as "memory artifacts." The physicality of his assemblage paintings boast worn textures similar to western road-scapes, archaeological fossils or weathered stone walls. Some even incorporate 3 dimensional objects specifically drawn from memories and enclosed within a sacred space within the painting. From the presence of baseballs and fishing net floats to spools of wound twine, all fit into his nostalgic adaptations of his experiences.
Benjamin revels in the process of fabrication. Each of his frames are hand-built, each with subtle nuances and personalities. He builds them in this way because it is in direct opposition to precision-based, manufactured objects that are what he calls "lifeless." My paintings are individually unique and provide a surface and/or form with which to explore. Each layer of paint or wood is constructed like the earth's crust with each layer standing as a footprint of experience." Paint, graphite and the use of fire also all come together in order to facilitate his intentions.
Like many artists which draw inspiration from several art historical movements at once, Benjamin is most influenced by Jasper Johns, Andy Goldsworthy, Kcho and Cai Guo-Qiang as well as the classic paintings of Caravaggio and Veronese.
Benjamin now resides in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado where he continues to explore and create his travel-scapes.