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Interview with Christine Benjamin on the occasion of her solo exhibition The Weird and The Wonderful at KALEID during the month of May 2013. Interview conducted by Donny Foley.

KALEID: What got you into doing art and how long have you been doing
art professionally?

Christine: I started creating art when I was 2 years old. My mother put crayons in my hand and gave me paper and I never stopped making art. I’ve been creating art professionally for 30 years. I received my degree in graphic design and illustration from San Jose State University and then went to work for advertising and design companies.

KALEID: The felt dolls that you make are beautiful! Are the dolls a
relatively new thing? How do you like working in felt opposed to
paint?

Christine: I’ve been creating one of a kind dolls for about 6 years and using many other materials besides felted wool. I also use Fimo (polymer clay), drift wood, vintage buttons and fabric and I hand sew all my original clothing designs for my dolls. I enjoy creating dolls just as much as painting. Some of my shows focus on pairings and some focus on just my dolls.

KAKEID: What kind of influences help to inspire you?

Christine:  I have many subjects and imagery that influence my art. Old monster movies, old Sci Fi, vintage tin toys – especially robots, punk Untitled-1music, underground comics, Tiki and Hawaiian culture, Disneyland, pirates, haute couture fashion and Mexican folk art.

KALEID: You use a lot of stripes in you work, is there a reason for that?

Christine: I use stripes in a lot of my paintings and dolls because I love patterns and texture. And I like the way stripes create movement. I also wear clothing with stripes almost everyday.

KALEID: What do find most challenging when working on a new piece?

Christine: I find the most challenging thing about working on a new piece is creating a dialog with the viewer. Creating characters or a scenario that tells a story or brings out an emotion in the viewer.

KAKEID: Do you have any fun or interesting habits while you’re working?

Christine: When I work I usually listen to music or have a movie going on my computer that I can listen to.

KAKEID: What do u do in your down time?

Christine: When I’m not creating art I’m usually hanging out with family and friends and going to fun art events and shows.

KALEID: Which one of your pieces do you feel like you connect with the most?

Christine: I connect with my monster characters the most. They are the most interesting to me.

KALEID: What kind of message do you hope someone leaves with after spending some time with your art?

Christine: I hope that the viewer will be transported into a world of fun and funky creatures and that they will make
up their own stories about my characters.

christine

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