• Quyen Hutchinson

Local Artist... Maria Benvenuto

Originally from the mountains of Santiago, Chile, Manly resident Maria provides an abstract interpretation for the cover of our April issue.

A sneak peek at Maria's gestural and experimental studio process

How long have you lived on the Northern Beaches?

Since December 2018 when I arrived in Australia with my husband. Manly is definitely the best place to live in Australia, and we are looking to stay.

What’s your favourite beach?

Shelly beach. It is the closest to my studio and home and where I get most of my inspiration from.

Where’s your favourite place to eat, drink, hang out?

The Boat House at Shelly Beach for brunch. When having a drink and hang out I like The Skiff Club.

What’s the best thing about the Northern Beaches?

The variety of beaches and their beautiful landscapes.

If you had to live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Somewhere similar to the Northern Beaches!

What inspired the cover art?

The view of the ocean from a lookout near my studio in North Head.

What else inspires your art?

The ocean, the green vegetation, flowers and cliffs in contrast with the majestic and beautiful city. Also, experimentation in the studio is very important. I like to research different materials, surfaces and mediums. 'Errors' or 'mistakes' in the research process can be used to create a good result in the final painting.

How would you describe your art?

Abstract art inspired by the landscape. I like the freedom that comes with creating abstract pieces.

What are your favourite materials to work with?

Acrylics and different mediums on paper and linen. It is very important to me that the brushstrokes have different characteristics, such as contrast, transparency and layers.

Has your art or inspiration changed since moving to Australia from Chile?

I started painting calmer, more contemplative painting because of the feelings and the daily life I have here. I was used to city life, surrounded by high and steep mountains while here I have the ocean with its waves, cliffs with amazing views to the city, and green valleys with deep tree foliage.

How did you discover you had a gift for art?

Since I was a child, I was surprised by most of the paintings I saw. Every time I had the chance to analyse an art piece, I felt an internal connection with the painting that is hard to explain. It is very unique how colours, shapes and gestures capture my attention. I had special admiration towards the abstract pieces. I always feel comfortable and happy making art.

Did you study art?

I studied Visual Arts in Chile.

What else are you currently working on?

I am preparing a solo exhibition for the Gallery that represents me in NSW, M. Contemporary Gallery.

How can people buy and support your work?

They can buy directly from M. Contemporary Gallery.

Any words of wisdom for aspiring artists?

It is important to be persistent and put a lot of effort on what you love to achieve your goals. For me, creating a social media profile and website has become key in connecting me with people interested in my process and work across the globe, with no limits. Experimenting with different materials and techniques is an important part of the creative process. Trust the process since after every stroke there may be a unique and creative result.

What is your favourite thing about what you do?

I have fun while I work and feel free to express my feelings on canvas.

Do you have a suitably pretentious quote to share with our readers?

Viva la vida.

Follow Maria on Instagram @mariajosebenvenuto

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