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ARTISTS WE LOVE:

TREVOR BENNETT INTERVIEW / DONNA SMITH

“A

rt is hard,” to quote one of my favorite undergraduate professors. Trevor Bennett experienced that same moment many of us feel when he quit his job to pursue art full-time at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. Through humor, abstraction and a willingness to try out new installation techniques, Bennett presents work that is engaging on all fronts to the viewer. Bennett’s upcoming work can be seen in the traveling exhibition “Drawing Value,” which will arrive in Little Rock, his hometown, at Boswell Mourot Fine Art in November. For me, if his insightful and refreshing interview is any indication, you won’t want to miss this show. Tell me more about your upcoming show Drawing Value. What types of work can we expect to see and is it a departure from previous work? The show ultimately is about subjects with multiple interpretations. I feel that it is an exciting next step in the evolution of my art adventure. In “Drawing Value” I am exploring my personal biography by scrutinizing pocket-sized objects from my life. I channel that scrutiny into charcoal drawings that meticulously recreate my collection at a much larger scale. The title of the show was selected because it has several different meanings. Individual titles within the show provocatively adopt other drawing-related words such as “resolution” and “fidelity.” How did you start with ceramics? How did your ideas develop between your time in Arkansas at UALR and then later on in New York at Alfred University? UALR was a wonderful experience for me. I had been interested in art my entire life but when it came time for school, I didn’t know if I could manage to make it a career. One night, my ceramics teacher, Missy McCormick sat me down and convinced me to stop studying part-time and to focus. The next day I quit my day job and dedicated myself to art. The following year I was selected to attend the amazing Alfred University in New York. It was a dream come true. I learned a lot about clay but even more about art. Thanks Missy! Do you find that your drawing process directly impacts your ceramics work and installation? From your website, drawing seems quite integral to your mold and sculptural process. There is even a section of your works called “Sketches,” which includes terracotta pieces.

Drawing has always been a staple in my art diet. I think it’s essential to every artist’s practice. I grew up drawing every minute, imitating other artists. I have always been an obsessive person when it comes to the details. I think that being hyper-observant as a child conditioned me in my adulthood. Eventually, I started comparing the blankness of the page to the emptiness of a gallery space. Three-dimensionally arranging sculpture in an installation sense was not unlike tinkering with composition on a two-dimensional surface. From looking at your work as a whole, the ceramic works are impressive, but seem to come together more fully in your storyline composition or installation connections between each piece

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ABOVE: Salt and Pepper, 2015, charcoal on paper BELOW: Portrait of the artist

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