||Greg Benson took a winding road on his way to becoming a professional artist.
Being self taught Benson considers himself fortunate to have achieved
such a large international following. "I paint my memories and interests and
collectors seem to connect with them," says Benson.
|Benson's natural talent was evident at an early age. "When I was really young
I remember having lot's of coloring books," recalls Benson. "As I got older I
found drawing came easily to me. In high school people thought I would pursue
a career in commercial art but designing cereal boxes under someone else's deadline
did not appeal to me at all. I ended up in all kinds of different jobs after high
school but I always enjoyed drawing and continued just for myself."
|| The first time Greg received any payment for his talent was when a friend who
worked for a sign company saw his work and said, "you should come and paint
billboards with me." Greg says, "I learned to paint very large and that was the
first time in my life I was paid to do something I loved."
|Greg then ended up taking a job doing heavy construction with a power company.
Benson recalls, "the pay was great but I was miserable. I'd be running a
jackhammer outside in 20 degree below zero weather on top of huge buried
power lines. I remember thinking I've got to try something else. They would have
periodic layoffs and callbacks and during one of these layoffs I decided I'd try
and make a full time career out of art. At first it seemed I'd made a huge mistake."
||Greg then switched to painting exclusively with oil on canvas. "I chose oil paints
because I still had some left over from high school and I couldn't afford anything
else," recalls Greg. This led to his first art show. "I got a second hand pegboard
display booth and a friend helped me hall it to an outdoor art show. I proudly set
out my paintings and waited for the my new collectors to roll in........ I didn't sell a
|Unwilling to give up, Benson continued painting. Greg states, " One day my
mother who was and still is a great source of support said she'd seen some
art for sale at a local restaurant chain and perhaps I could try this myself. I found
out they gave local artists the opportunity to hang artwork in their restaurants for
||I let them see my work and they said they'ed love to have me display my
paintings. I hung about 20 pieces and within two days I sold my first oil. I believe
it sold for only $150.00 but I was hooked. I knew from then on I would always
be a full time artist.
Greg's first motor
on two wheels -
at age twelve.
Greg says, "I still
mini bike. The
feeling I got twisting
that throttle. I rode
that thing every
chance I had.
I also tried my hand at customizing.
I didn't think lime
green was cool
enough so I spray
painted the frame
fire engine red.
Unfortunately I new
nothing about paint
and it all peeled off
a short time later.
No photo's have
survived of my first
motorcycle, a small
honda. I think I
was about 14 years
old when I bought it
for $50.00. I beat
the heck out of it and
it just kept on running."
No matter what the
weather I drove that bike.
Quite a deal since I
live in Minnesta. I delivered art on the bike, grocery shopped and even tied my easel to it when I had to instruct art classes!"
"The cool thing about
that bike was even
though it looked like
a slow, family bike, it
was a rocket!
The guy I bought it
from had bored
out the cylinders
and put in racing
pistons, a cam and
a carb kit. Many a
crotch rocket was left
the heck was that?"