Jacob Bennett speaks about his life and his art.
“I was born in the United Kingdom but relocated to Ghana-West Africa at an early age. My passion for Art started when I was young. I discovered my ability to draw and I remember drawing pictures from books especially world book encyclopedias where I drew pictures of past American presidents.
At Accra Academy where I had my secondary education, I pursued art, continuing later to the college of art, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi-Ghana, where I obtained a Bachelor of Art Degree in Painting with a second-class honours-Upper Division. In my third year and my final year I started selling my paintings in art galleries. I had my first exhibition right after university in 1996.
My paintings are more representational with the subjects mostly figurative rendered in a stylized and idealized way. I parade elegant women as sinuous as grazing gazelles bejeweled with dew. Tapered female faces in exquisite colour stare dispassionately like proud, virgin princesses. When I paint gourds, which is a large round fruit with a hard skin it is with the same relish. I dress the gourds up with such purpose that they become their own salesman: silently, imposingly. I rely on precision in my work. My technique is understated, controlled and waste less.
My power relies on finesse and sound craftsmanship to buttress my clear vision. The variety of colours I use are mostly applied thinly but occasionally in impasto. Balance sums up my style. My works compel discussion. Hidden in them are symbolism, allegory, indirect reference and esoteric purpose. My inspiration has always been the environment and my aim is always to create something beautiful and aesthetically pleasant to the eyes, that will offer observers the opportunity to get their minds off stress and to relieve them. I believe in allowing the viewer to participate in the composition by trying to interpret it.
The viewer or observer I say, must also express how he or she feels about the work of art, what he or she sees in it and the message he or she feels I want to portray”.
Professor Ato K.G. de Graft Johnson an art critic and lecturer formerly of KNUST, Kumasi-Ghana writes “Bennett is the quintessential artist. He searches endlessly. He experiments ceaselessly. Beauty happens to him by sheer circumstance. He has a unique artistic voice which has range, power, passion and discipline”. ”