We had the good fortune of connecting with Carolina Benavidez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Carolina, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
Artists are visionaries. I have a deep desire to spend my free time drawing and painting, and I consider this a gift from my higher power. Throughout the years, I have experimented with watercolors, oils, pen illustrations, printmaking, and I have sold pieces done in all of those mediums. One thing that all my sold pieces have in common is that when I was making them, they felt like a deep meditation, almost as if another force took over me. This is a lesson I learned from a sculptor I interned for years ago: Viewers can tell when your art comes from your soul, so don’t water it down to please others. There will always be people that connect with your artwork. There will always be people that do not particularly enjoy your artwork. Focus on the first group and keep putting your art out there. The more I follow my authentic voice, the more I connect with others who relate to my vision, and this motivates me to create more. 

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I grew up in Uruguay where, as a child, I was always writing stories and drawing my own characters. When I moved to AZ during my late teens, art took the center stage in my life as a way to communicate and connect with others. I attended Metropolitan Art Institute for my High School Senior year, where I met many of my lifelong artist friends and I exhibited my art for the first time at First Fridays. My work is largely inspired by and a celebration of strong women, animals, and the natural world. I am currently painting the folds of the beautiful edible mushrooms I get at the farmers market with watercolors. As a way to care for the earth, I renovate and repurpose frames for my artwork. Each of my art pieces is one of a kind and I produce my own prints at home. I enjoy printing on handmade papers like Mulberry or Kitakata, rolling out monotypes, and painting women and nature.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a friend was visiting the area during the warmer months, I would take them hiking and swimming around the Verde Valley, such as Clear Creek or Sycamore Canyon. After a day in nature, we would stop for a healthy drink and handmade chocolates at ChocolaTree, in Sedona. Once back in Phoenix, we would dine on some Loaded Mac at Whyld Ass. Winters in Phoenix are the best! On a colder day, we would start the morning with a bike ride to enjoy the myriad of murals around the Historic Coronado District. Then, I would treat my friend to a healthy facial at SWINA. After that, we would get lunch at Pachamama and hit up the Phoenix Art Museum. For dinner, we would peruse the varied local selections at Cosmic Vegans in Downtown Glendale, and then we would explore Glendale Glitters, which are holiday lights. Saturdays always start at the Phoenix Downtown Farmers Market. We would get some fresh produce from The Golo Family Organic Farm and mushrooms from Southwest Mushrooms. Then we would sneak in a yoga class at Nrysh before I cook my friend an amazing vegan meal. Later in the day, I would drive her down to Marana to visit the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I graduated from NAU in 2013, I took part in an art show in Jerome in which I met my fellow artist friend Tom, from www.tomogburn.net. Tom bought one of my linocuts (which was a huge confidence booster as an emerging artist), and invited me to his own art gallery. Throughout the years we have kept in touch through phone calls and emails in which he continues to encourage me and provide me extensive and honest feedback on whatever art I am creating at the moment. Tom is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily on paintings that include collage, assemblage, digital imagery and image transfers. I love the feelings of serenity and timelessness that he conjures with his images. He is currently working in his new art studio in Helper, Utah. The past three years I have been fortunate to teach Art at Glenn F. Burton, in GESD. My students and school community motivate and inspire me everyday, and the mentorship from Lorri, Jeff, and Gail, continues to grow my love for sharing the gift of art with others. Lastly, my mom and my husband are my best friends that support me in all my endeavors.

Website: www.carolinabenavidezart.com
Instagram: riodepajaros
Facebook: Carolina Benavidez Art
Other: My new Etsy Store: CBWallArt

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