Who are you?
I’m Gonzalo Bénard, artist and author expressing myself in different means like painting, drawing, photography or writing. I spend few years in Himalayas both in a monastery and with the shamans in the higher lands. And have been a “nomad” since then, living in Lisbon, Paris, Barcelona, with some time spent in Sahara or Ireland. As artist I’ll be having the 50th exhibition of my works next year in Toronto. As author I mostly write about shamanism, meditation and consciousness.
What is your next creative project?
I’m always working in different projects and different means to express myself (an autistic challenge though), and whilst I have had projects going on for 5 years, like the series “B Shot by a Stranger” shot through webcam focused on youth loneliness and depression, I keep exploring shamanic ways to express mainly through art-photography. I am preparing now new exhibitions and series for next year, mostly related with the connection between human, consciousness and nature.
B Shot by a Stranger
What do you like about Portfoliobox?
It’s clean, easy to use, clever back office, easy to navigate with enough templates to make it comfortable to change and create unique and diverse moods within the webpage. Also the attention to client is always kind, quick and professional.
How would you describe your work?
Being autistic, my work has been always more connected with nature itself, or the connection between humans and nature, which is most often where I get inspired. My work is mindful and raw, often with hidden readings, and it is mostly created under trance or meditation. It is not a fast-food work, you do have to take some time to digest it and go deeper.
The Soul Matters
Who are your biggest influences in the industry?
The first time I was confronted with photographic work as art, was at very young age, an exhibition with the wonderful works by Jorge Molder and Helena Almeida, and both influenced a lot my earlier work. Then I discovered Mario Cravo Neto, Mapplethorpe, Eikoh Hosoe, Jungjin Lee, Laurent Millet, George Platt Lynes, Erwin Blumenfeld, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Alberto Garcia-Alix or Francesca Woodman.
Portrait of Willem D.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
To not just pass by, or “like and scroll down”: to take a break and breathe, to use my work as a meditation pause, to reflect on our connection with nature and with consciousness. To have them as a healing, or meditation image. To go beyond the aesthetic pleasure and go deeper in the concept and meaning without prejudice. It’s wonderful when my clients after purchasing my work tell me that the artwork changed the energy of their places for much better, even though some art collectors buy them just as investment, I’m well aware that my artworks do make a change in the walls of their homes. Although, I must say that was overwhelming when I saw an art-photograph of mine in the same wall along with Egon Schiele, Jean Cocteau and Degas.