Friday, September 28, 2012

"Man, 'Dat Bass Is Buddah!"

A sketch I did when we were both young!

It is so strange how things happen. There's this program on the local public radio station that talks about music and the behind the scenes stories that I occasionally listen to on my way home from the gym or running errands. I don't go out of my way to listen to it, but when I do, I always enjoy it.

When the global news at noon ended and this program called, "Music Inside Out With Gwen Thompkins", came on, I said to myself,"Ya know who they should interview especially all he has been through of late and a real behind the scenes guy? They should interview"... and then the moderator came on and introduced my old friend, Reggie Scanlan.

And a chill ran up and down all over my soul...

Give a listen... it's good stuff!  ( If nothing else, you'll love his accent, ha! )

Podcast @

Copyright 2012-2013/ Ben Bensen III

Monday, September 24, 2012

One In A Series of Collector Prints... Nixon Galloway!

Nixon's DC-3
I've been so busy doing things that really don't pertain to making a living as an artist. So, I thought that this would be a nice way to stay motivated and, at the same time, share some of my favorite artist's work.

In my line of "art," when the artwork is no longer needed to help sell an idea, it gets filed away for a couple of months and then, usually, but not always, is thrown in the dumpster. I have picked up some really nice storyboard art, sketches, and comp work from the likes of David Arkle, Larry Navarro, Rod Dryden, Ray Cadd, Jim Auckland, Chris Turner, Mike Barry, Shannon Hogan and some older and more stylistic art from guys like,"Woody" Woodcock, Ed Lunquist and a host of other really fine illustrators.

I'm told, by my illustrative compadres, that some of my work has also been saved from the giant garbage bags signed, "Basura!" I'm flattered!

And, many of these are not printed or digitized pieces, but the actual art.

Anyway, here's one in a series of twenty or so printed pieces that aviation artist, Nick Galloway, painted for United Airlines. It was a "collector's series" of water colors Nick was so famous for.

With a few more to be posted, this one is one of my favorites...

Copyright 2012-2013/Ben Bensen III 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Chrissakes, It's Laughable!"

Visible blasphemy?

With all the turmoil that has occurred lately over religions making fun and poking each other's "heros", and artists making statements that aren't exactly endearing anyone to defend any side, I have always harkened back to this illustration which was done by Fred Berger for an article in Playboy sometime back in the seventies. Playboy, how appropriate you might say. What would one expect from this icon of every horny, young baby boomer drooling alone in his dorm room. Indeed, what would you expect!

It is very well rendered in a classical style probably with charcoal on a colored newsprint looking paper. Although I am not sure of it, I would expect the art director for the magazine, Art Paul, probably had something to do with it. As art director, Paul supervised the design of the magazine for thirty-plus years. Early on, he commissioned many local Chicago artists and photographers to illustrate the magazine. During Paul's years at Playboy, the magazine won hundreds of awards for excellence in graphic design and illustration. Paul has been credited for helping create a revolution in illustration by insisting that graphic design and illustration need not be "low" arts but could, when approached with integrity and emotional depth, and in a spirit of experimentation, be as "high" an art as any.

I kinda liked that!

The piece is reminiscent of a figure drawing class, but what I love most of all is the treatment of our icon of Christianity. In all my years of Catholic education, standing, kneeling, sitting, crawling, and yawning at the myriad of images of Jesus, portrayed as part God, part man, I have never ever before seen him portrayed this way...


I'd like to think Jesus loved a good joke even if it was a bawdy one or one at his own expense.

I don't know or remember if there was ever any fallout over such a concept. Maybe the art wasn't as global or viral an event as the latest film on Islam is. Still, I wonder if anyone at Playboy got death threats for such blasphemy. No bomb threats, or hit men with contracts to kill the artist, Fred Berger, who obviously over stepped his artistic license and didn't realize that freedom of this kind of expression comes with a heavy price. Maybe, his hands should be chopped off for drawing such art or his eyes plucked out for seeing God in such a disrespectful manner.

Without waving the flag too vigorously, the freedom to be free and express that freedom is what I love most about being an American artist. 

I don't presume to understand the inner workings of any religion or foreign policy and it is not my intention to promote one way to think or live. I don't even think this blog spot warrants validation or clarification on any level by me or anyone else. I just think Mr. Berger's art illustrates the humanity in all of us, male and female...  and in all of our Gods.

Doing otherwise, sadly, only makes me laugh!

Copyright 2012-2013/ Ben Bensen III