Artists & Makers
Hey Kessy Chats with Gringo Benedicto
Posted May 9, 2017
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If you love to travel to different spots such as Siargao, Bacolod, and Nepal, you probably would have seen one of his quirky murals featuring creatures with eccentric details and big eyes! This Bacolod-born visual artist shares his journey to making murals and how traveling has inspired all of his creations.

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Could you talk about how you became a visual artist? What sparked your interest for art as a child or a teen?
You should ask my mom on the best way to remove crayons off walls. Ever since I was little, crayons and coloring books were the preferred pasalubong. As much as I loved drawing when I was a kid, I never considered myself a good artist as I couldn’t draw Sonic the Hedgehog on point. In school, I’d go solo on group projects and just have my group mates take care of the cost of the materials. I’d be like, “Guys, I got this.” You may also wonder how my textbooks looked like in congruence to my grades. Haha!

Do you think growing up in Bacolod has given you a unique perspective? 
Bacolod is a colorful place. The art that comes out of here is boundless. In relation to having great food, inspiration comes easy.

What’s your favorite medium and why?
Hands down, ink on paper. I work fast and ink dries fast.

What inspired you to do murals? Do you remember the first mural you ever made? What was it about and where can people find it? 
My first mural was in a bar in Bacolod called KGB. It was a semi-hole in the wall, super cool artsy bar. They closed and sold it to new owners. The new owners revamped everything but saved the mural as it still went along with the vibe of the new establishment—now called Portiko. I was flattered.

Hey Kessy Blog

Hey Kessy Blog

How easy or difficult is it for you to do large-scale art pieces? Could you share your process?
If the wall is wider than 5 meters, I would sketch a composition layout just so I know where to place whatever I’ll be putting on it. For the most part, I prefer doing it impromptu to surprise myself as well. It’s like a puzzle I enjoy solving.

How do you go about making murals abroad?
I’ve had referrals given by friends I meet traveling so I get arranged for a job. Most times, it’s a result of me slyly busking in artsy cafes and I’d get commissioned off the bat. Internationally, I’ve done residential areas, cafés, schools, hostels, and public walls. Being friendly pays off.

Where do you get inspiration for your art?
Traveling is a huge part of it. Seeing different patterns, color combinations, techniques, personalities, other people’s art, and I have to mention food again. All these just stick and unintentionally embed themselves in my art.

Hey Kessy Blog

Hey Kessy Blog

Hey Kessy Blog

Why do you prefer traveling for longer periods of time versus a quick, five-day vacation?
I love traveling, but with the purpose of finding a spot where I don’t have to move. In a business sense, it’s a good way to network. But more importantly, it allows me to see the “details” of a place and get to the soul of it.

If money were no object, where would you be off to now?
Madagascar, Amazon, or Congo. If money were no object, I think I’d still go broke. Haha!

What are your hopes and dreams for the Philippines in relation to the art scene? 
Where do I start? Maybe I want art to be regarded more as a need than as a want.

What’s next for you?
I don’t know what’s next. We’ll just have to see. There is no intention of stopping, so I guess that’s a good plan.

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Follow Gringo on Instagram and Facebook to see more of his work.
 


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