Jean Benabou

Location: San Diego, California

All images are copyrighted and strictly for educational and viewing purposes.



How did you become a artist?
I have been creating art since the time I could pick up a pencil but I decided to pursue becoming an “artist” around high school. When I got into junior college, I had two great and inspiring teachers who led me to believe that if I wanted it badly enough, I could have it. So, I went for it and went to art school. My first year of “real” college was at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. I loved every minute of it – the environment, the people, even the smells of the studio – I knew I was home. From that point on, I never turned back.

Where are you from originally?

Southern California.

Who were your main influences growing up?

My father took a lot of interest in my art when I was a child. He would take time to tell me what should be shaded or other little techniques that could improve what I was doing. My mother also tried to be supportive of my interests.

Did you go to art school/college or are you self-taught?

I went to Otis/Parsons in Los Angeles. It was the most fantastic experience. I was submerged in a vast pool of perpetual creative influences on a daily basis. What more could an artist want?

Any advice or tips to novice painters?
It is not at all easy to pursue any form of a creative life. There is constant rejection and little regard to all of the hard work that goes into what you do. There are also, very often, difficult times financially. If you love creating, if you love being an artist, by all means, DO NOT GIVE UP! Push forward, do what you have to do to survive and know that it will pay off in the end. Don’t disservice yourself with delusions of grandeur and ideas of instantaneous recognition and success – sometimes it happens, but more often than not, it’s up to YOU to make it happen. You can make it happen if you stick to it.

What has been the most rewarding and challenging project you have worked on?

Each piece I do is equally challenging, and most of the time rewarding.

What is your favorite portfolio piece? Why?

I’m not sure that I have a true favorite piece as each of them are different and unique in their own way. Each piece is a small peek into my life or emotions.

What art or artist inspires you most?

There are really so many, past and present. But as far as the past, I have always loved Robert Rauschenberg. He is really inspiring because he made so many exciting changes in the world of art and he also continued forward in an art market that initially rejected him. There are some newer artists whose work I really love – Ron Mueck is great, Beth Cavener StichterWalton Ford and Tom Otterness.