Benjamin Cabral is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Chicago. His work has been shown throughout the United States and was selected for a public sculpture commission by the City of San Diego’s Arts District and was recently shown with Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago. A painter by training, Benjamin’s work is largely autobiographical in nature, creating an honest, yet inherently unreliable, portrait of the artist. Benjamin’s recent paintings are entirely encrusted in beads and rhinestones. These paintings are conceived digitally, and the pixels are then transferred to the panel through the meditative application of beads. These works examine the intersections between trauma and nostalgia, joy and sorrow, and the digital and the analog. Benjamin also creates sculptural work, intended to be static performers engaging with viewer. Benjamin is an MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Artist Statement

my paintings start as sketches on my iPad, and utilize plastic craft beads as lines and fields of color, the luminosity of the beads becomes a mimetic stand in for the surface of a screen. The imagery in my work is taken from memories of family illness and childhood trauma. I often incorporate visual cues, from Christian mime performs, to sea world’s infamous whale, Tilikum, significant to my memories as characters in a larger narrative. the process of laying down the beads becomes meditative, allowing for introspection. I want my audience to react to my painting in a visceral manner, not just through the tactile nature of my surfaces but also through humor. I aim to instill a sense of anxiety within the viewer that is felt rather than immediately seen. The immediate goal isn’t to create paintings that are considered “tasteful,” rather I want to create a dialogue within the explosive new rhetoric of the banal.

Benjamin Performing as Jonah and Tilikum as The Whale 2018 5'x5' Rhinestones and Beads on Panel
Mother Performing in SeaWorld on Ice 2019 4'x5' Rhinestones and Beads on Panel
Ceremonial Burial of Tilikum and Gosldfish 2018 4'x5' Rhinestones and Beads on Panel
Soccer Match 2019 4'X4' Rhinestones and Beads on Panel
Family Portrait 2018 Rhinestones and Beads on Plaster