Interview with Benny De Grove
Born 1957 Ghent Belgium.
Academy of Fine Arts Ghent.
Photographer Since 1986.
Publicity and Portrait photography for magazines, books and publicity agencies.
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?
After many years working as free lance photographer I decided to make my own works to have a more personal expression as a photographer. It was a great feeling that finally I could tell my story, feelings, thoughts through my passion in photography.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
My artwork is the extension of my inner self, the pain, the hope, the longing for a better world, the understanding of others through communication with my works. The more I make new works, the more I go deeper into myself. The works are not really noncommittal, it is an invitation to get in an interaction between me, the work and the spectator.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from a bit everywhere. Sometimes it is a gaze, or a look of someone, sometimes it is the color, structure of a stone, a word etc...
Further there are many artists that inspired me, as well painters like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, as well as filmmakers like David Lynch, Akira Kurosawa...
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
In my latest works it is my hope that people feel their own inner anxieties, hopes, pain,
I do really hope, people feel like some recognition of their own inner self. Like a mirror with which they start a conversation.
When do you know that an artwork is finished ?
This is the tricky part. It is so easy to keep on working on a work at the risk of killing it.
For me a work is finished when I get the feeling I want to get out of this work, it can even be a bit raw and looking unfinished. I try to stop before it is finished and than it is finished for me.
What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
As I am not yet working a long time as an artist, I feel that the most exciting moments still have to come. I made a book about a circus and also wrote the texts (after interviews with the artists). One day I met someone I did not know and she told me that the book was always on her living room table and she looked into the book very frequently. It made her relax and get to see things in the right perspective.
How long does it take to produce one work?
If I count the way I am now making an finishing my works, you can say that most of the large formats take from one to two days. Making the picture, working on it digitally, preparing the surface for the print, finishing the surface after the print.
What exciting projects are you working on right now?
I am preparing a solo exhibition called "Confessions"
“Confessions” in its basic meaning refers to the confessions in The Church. The artworks have no affinity with the narrow interpretation of religion but in a very broad way to symbolism and spiritualism. Spiritual images help me to express myself. The gazes, the positions of hands and other parts of the body are therefore the ingredients of the artworks.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?
I will be working over a year at this "Confessions" exhibition and it will be promoted on several media. The idea is that this exhibition will become a traveling exhibition.