Out of the Darkness by Mark Benavides
Mark and his paintings outside of his home.
My artistic career began two years ago during my recovery from Stage IV laryngeal cancer. I’d lost my vocal cords, my physical stamina, and my life as I had previously known it. Alcohol provided some comfort while I sat at home, but ultimately dragged me into dark, lonely places. One day, my wife suggested I try painting.
I’ve always been an active, outdoorsy, and creative person. Before living in Columbus and receiving my diagnosis, I spent time in San Pedro, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, where I ran my own masonry business and styled stone and concrete for people’s homes. Outside of work, I camped and spent time in the mountains. My wife taught me to snow ski and I regularly visited the slopes in California, Nevada, and Utah. I’ve always wanted to return to these places and never expected to be laid up so soon. Now, my mind wants to play, but my body doesn’t.
As I’ve grown as an artist, the paintbrush has helped me revisit these and other places, to take them out of my memory and bring them back to life. Using a discarded table as a workbench in my basement, I paint snowy mountains, dense forests, boundless fields, and wildlife. When I’m creating, I’m active and working with my hands once again. This helps me manage my depression and anxiety, and I no longer want to drink.
I have about 500 acrylic paintings in my house, and I’ve put about 300 of them in handmade wooden frames. Because yard sales are so popular in Columbus, I decided to try selling artwork outside of my home. Drivers often stop to take a look at the pieces I’ve propped up on my lawn, and many have sold. I believe I’m supposed to help my fellow man, so this is important to me. In addition to advancing my own recovery, if I can use what I do to make someone else happy, that’s the bottom line.
Fresh A.I.R. Gallery does not take a commission on art sales, and all proceeds go directly to artists. If you purchase artwork, we will contact you to arrange pickup or delivery. All online sales incur a 3.2% processing fee.