Bene was born in Münster, Germany and now lives and works in Berlin. He’s worked with large names including Google, The New York Times and Converse. He’s been apart of over 30 exhibitions in the past few years and continues to create original work inspired by death cults, traditional art, native tribes and nature.
– Comics, collage, plants and Mexican death cults. It works so well together, but how?
I really don’t know. They are just a couple of the things that I am interested in and I simply tried to find a way to make them look nice together.
– Have you ever been in a Mexican death cult?
I wish, but unfortunately not!
– Is there any stories or spiritual meanings behind your illustrations?
My illustrations are a mash up of all the things I like and things that inspire me. Among these are mexican death cults, traditional art from native tribes and lots of nature related themes like moths and plants. I guess this combination makes them look spiritual or mystical, but without a deeper meaning. Or let’s say, I don’t know the meaning, yet. Because some people seem to see a deeper meaning in them. Maybe there is something, that my subconscious mind is trying to tell me!?
– If you were a character from a comic what would it be?
I think I would be Tintin, because his life seems really exciting. He is always on crazy adventures, he has a drunk captain as a friend and he never gets older.
– Have you ever thought about making your own comic with your illustrations? If so, what would it be about?
I have actually thought about it, because I love comics and I grew up with them. But I have realized, that I’m not a great storyteller and I also don’t think that I could stick with one project for a very long time. I like working on a single image for a couple of days and starting a completely new one after that.
– What’s the Berlin Exhibition scene like?
I’ve only had two gallery shows in Berlin so far, which is strange, because I live here since 2010. My German city for exhibitions is actually Hamburg. I somehow slipped into it and I really like it, because the scene is super nice and seems kind of small there. In Berlin it’s a very lively scene, with exhibitions all of the time. But for me it is a little too big. It’s hard to keep track of what’s going on when and where.
– What do you think of the art scene in the UK? Will you be coming back again?
It’s hard to tell, because my only experience so far is email contact, shipping artwork and seeing photos of the shows. I haven’t been able to actually go to one of the shows I was part of. Sure, I will be coming back, if I get an invite. I hope next time I can even attend the opening in person!
– At your exhibitions, what do you think goes through people’s mind when they see it?
Sometimes people ask me specific questions about my art (Why? How? etc). But sometimes they tell me their own interpretation, which is mostly really interesting, because it’s almost always completely different from what I had in mind. There’s often no deeper meaning in my illustrations, but some people keep searching for one and they try to make sense out of it. I like that!
– Do you have a particular question for any of the other featured artists? Hey Michael, is that mustache even real?
Michael C. Hsiung: I know it’s crazy but my mustache is totally real! I started growing it back in 2005 after getting out of a rough relationship. I basically just didn’t shave out of depression, then I sort of realized it was becoming more filled out so I went with it (mustache). My friends all commented that I should keep it and there you have it. The crazy part is my dad can’t grow facial hair and doesn’t even have hair on my arms. Total freak accident!! I won’t shave it ever because I’m afraid it won’t grow back. 🙂