Artist Linda Benenati creates playful, vintage styled encaustic portraits. Linda grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and studied English and Fine Art in college. After graduating, she continued to paint in oil and acrylic while pursuing a career as a graphic artist and writer in the tech industry. In 2010, an encounter with encaustic painting completely changed her art practice and she says it became her all time favorite medium. Today, Linda uses the molten wax exclusively to develop her humorous and personal scenes. "I am a collector of things, words, phrases and ideas," she explains. "I keep a notebook by the side of my bed and often ideas come to me in the middle of the night or even in dreams. Once I have an idea to illustrate or story I want to tell, I will collect images from multiple sources including magazines, the internet and taking photos." When she's not working in her home studio, Linda enjoys live theater and watching vintage film noir, where she finds inspiration in the costumes and set designs.
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About The Artist
My encaustic process is one of assemblage and improvisation. After inspiration strikes, I develop my story by gathering images from many sources including fashion magazines, the web, and photographing objects and scenery. I often draw from my personal collection of vintage hats, tin toys, travel and carnival souvenirs, and old photographs. I then draw and modify these images with colored pencils and markers, cut, rearrange, and develop a narrative by composing these into new characters and scenes.
The fluid quality of encaustic wax enables my process and also inspires it. I can quickly go from hot molten wax to cooled solidified color. I fuse each layer with a butane torch, hot air gun, or crafting iron depending on my desired effect, and then re-work it with my personal assortment of metal tools such as styluses, picks, and scrapers. I add layers of color and line work and then excavate, incise and scratch into these layers. I discover and shape the narrative throughout each creative and often magical voyage.
Once a painting is complete, I invite viewers to have a similar experience of discovery by examining the visual and title clues each painting provides. My hope is for viewers to ask and answer the question "What is going on here?" and come up with their own personal narrative.
San Jose State University
Bachelor of Arts, 1972