Interview: Danielle Benvenuto
Luca Curci talks with Danielle Benvenuto during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, second appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Danielle Benvenuto is a multimedia artist based in Berlin, Germany. Born in the US, she lived in NYC where she had a 15 year long career as a psychologist & energy healer. Over three years ago she left it all behind to pursue something deeper calling inside of her she had yet to define. After a year of creating space to just be, came the massive calling to make art. The calling was a surprising one. She never imagined her life taking this turn yet the profound sense of freedom she tasted leaving behind everything known to her inspired her to take another leap of faith. Over time this surrender to the unknown – the movement out of familiar patterns into a more vulnerable space where the mind, body, and soul can truly awaken – has become the major driving force behind her art. Her art therefore is an expression of the process of “being” and “becoming”. Her invitation is to show up as we are, in a heart-centered and embodied way to create lives that reflect our deepest desires. She is known for her soul portraits where she brings in her work as a healer to create a painting which reflects your soul energy. On canvas is a design you can tune into as you would in nature or a mediation to align with your “true self”.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Danielle Benvenuto – Ooh, good and also tough question. Art, for me, is about the expression of my truth as well as the expression of what I see happening in the collective. I find that the healing power of art is its ability to express in a variety of ways what isn’t being expressed or what needs to be known and digested. So art for me I would say creates a space for us to explore & get curious about the relationship we are having with ourselves and the culture we live in.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
DB – I worked for 15 years in New York City as a psychotherapist and energy healer. I was also writing and publishing my ideas on all sorts of topics having to do with being alive and human. I’m still writing, but less now. About 3 years ago I left it all behind to pursue something else, though I didn’t know what it was until a year after I left for Berlin. That’s when the calling to make art came. It was really strong so I just went with it even though I had never done it before. And having taken this huge leap of faith, I tapped into this freedom and profound love for life. So, for me, although, I’m not practicing as a psychotherapist anymore, I still feel a real calling to help people wake up to their own callings; to create lives that truly matter to them and to question what is. All in the spirit of fun! Laughter is tremendously healing and I foresee as I move more into performance work, it will become a greater part of my art.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
DB – Well, difficult on one level I guess. In these times of COVID, the art world was hit quite hard. That being said, I’m confident we’ll find our way. It’s time to get super creative. On the other hand, it’s a joy. So much is happening. We are in an exciting moment in history where we are being faced with some really big choices. We are being asked to step into the unknown and do things differently. This excites me and also scares me, but there’s no other moment I would rather be in than now.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
DB – A lot of my inspiration comes from within me. I enjoy my inner world, it’s always full of surprises and so it’s fun to express it. I also work out emotions and difficult experiences through the art so I feel the well of inspiration is never ending. And, I really love people! Therefore, my interactions and connection with others as well as the ordinary things of everyday life really get me curious and inspired.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
DB – In general I would say the themes I’m expressing are about being and becoming. I’m exploring what it is to be alive. And I guess to get more specific, its about the exploration and journey of finding one’s truth.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
DB – Well the actual photo, I took three years ago while in the middle of this beautiful & powerful relationship. About a few months ago, I had the idea to start photographing people’s eyes in a similar way: that is people who were either in love or in a loving relationship and to make a collection of these images. Then I saw the Itsliquid call, and I thought this would be perfect but shit, I don’t have time to collect all these images!!! So I just replicated the one photo which I worked on a bit nine times and really loved it!
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
DB – When I read the ITSLIQUID call for Fragmented Identities, I got really excited! The theme was right up my alley and it was the way the theme was expressed, that really impressed me. I thought to myself, these people really have a grip on humanity’s current dilemma. In other words, the vision that was expressed in the description of the festival felt like it was coming from a conscious mind. It’s a theme that our world needs to engage with more and more.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
DB – I think we are living in an art world that is transitioning. Galleries, except for the high end ones, are barely making any money and so new models are having to be considered. I could be wrong but it seems to me that ItsLiquid is offering opportunities for artists in this new way. In other words although as an artist being part of an Itsliquid event you are responsible for most of the costs, the exposure one gets through taking part in a festival with important themes, in prime locations with some really great art and connections to other artists and inspiring people, for me, is a good opportunity. It’s why I participated. I saw that there was potential for something to come from it. I see Itsliquid is also making a good effort to get my work out there on social media.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
DB – I felt my particular event was well organized. I always got fast responses and felt the staff was willing to work with me. I felt the pieces were hung in a professional manner and that the team had a good sense of the art world.