Benji Collins


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Artist Statement

At an early age I realized that I found different things interesting compared to the other boys in my class, in fact it was the other boys in my class that I was found interesting. Not really knowing how to process these thought, I struggled with notions of feeling like an outcast, being different, and unnatural. Eventually I turned to the internet and stumbled upon the artists like Tom of Finland, an artist that completely encompassed these kind of emotions, and desire that I was feeling and started my interest into the male form.

I’m now a 24 year old gay man, and it’s from this realization that my artist voice has developed. Focusing on male forms nestled in floral imagery, and adorned with insects, birds, reptiles, and other imagery from a childhood of reading comics and NatGeo. Creating. I am creating, in my own way, an extension of the natural world and a message of self acceptance. Going on to layer these images over each other and watching as they intertwine and create new meanings together.  Choosing to work in double entendres, metaphors and at times childish humor.  Even this balancing of the natural and the surreal that led me to my choice of marker illustrations. With a bold array of pigments, subjects from the natural world, like a robin or daffodil, are brought to an almost unnaturally bold aesthetic and read as if they’re part of a wider fairy tale or comic. Even after a decade of accepting myself, I’m still making art that the questioning and confused early closet-case Me would’ve needed to see to get a grip on everything.