Today I have an interview with Redondo Beach based photographer and artist Ben Junta. I first discovered Ben’s work at the Serena & Lily shop here in LA, where I spotted one of his gorgeous seascapes which led me to the happy discovery of his website and full breadth of work. In addition to creating his dreamy landscapes, Ben works with a variety of media from oils to spray paint to sand. He’s currently working on a series of colorful acrylic paintings.
Check out his website here, and read on to learn a bit more about Ben below:
How did you get started as an artist?
I was not a young art prodigy. I was heading to college to study and play football and had to take a “creativity” class as a General Ed requirement. I chose a black and white drawing class from the now well-known artist Squeak Carnwath. She made all the difference in the world. She was just an amazing teacher, especially to a guy not familiar with many art materials, etc. Timidly, I began to draw, found I had a bit of talent, and the rest is history.
What inspires your work?
The human condition and simply trying to express or record that as I experience it, be it in landscape or abstract form.
I first discovered your work in the Serena & Lily store, where I fell in love with one of your seascapes. How did you end up working with the brand?
This is sort of a typical artist answer in the sense that a friend thought my work would be a good fit with Serena and Lily and told me as much. As many artists can sometimes do, I didn’t jump on the idea for about a year, but rather continued simply to focus on making the art itself. About a year after the first recommendation, I simply sent the art director jpegs of my work and within an hour she responded and that is how it started. I can’t say enough about what good people I have worked with at Serena and Lily.
If you had to choose a favorite artwork of yours, which would it be?
Such a great question. Very early on in my career, I was on a half year trip to see the world and to see as many of the world’s great art museums as I could. I started with the Prado in Madrid, Spain and ended up with the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. Along the way, I spent some weeks in the Greek Islands. Upon returning to California I set up an early art studio in Santa Cruz, CA. It was there that I did a small pastel drawing in an impressionist style of a photo I had taken while in Greece. That was over 25 years ago. Not only did the work give me a strong sense that I had the ability to make art on a serious level, but to this day it hangs in my house as a reminder of that inspiring life changing journey taken so long ago. Many people have offered to purchase it through the years, but it will never be sold.
I know you live here in Southern California…what would be your perfect California day?
Oh man, I write this as the beginnings of El Nino have set in, and it seems we have had mostly gray days for the past month and a half. No thank you. I need the sunshine! So a perfect California day for me would be to wake up to a clear sunny morning knowing the weather temperature would settle somewhere in the 70’s. Have my morning tea, head out to my painting studio and get some work in. Then before lunch, the winds would not be a factor, and the surf would be in a gentle 3-4 foot range and I would head out for a midday surf. Then back for some lunch, a quick power nap, and back to the studio to finish the days’ work. I would finish it off with the company and cooking of my girlfriend who is an amazing chef. A bit of gentle Miles Davis or Roy Hargrove playing in the background, and a soft candlelit ambiance to round it all out.