Benjy Russell

Doweltown, TN


Wedding Bells, 2021, Inkjet on fabric, 84 x 56 in. NFS
I see it in existence, not in essence, 2012, Giclee print on Dibond with UV laminate, Ed. of 10 +2 AP, $2800


I’m a Choctaw artist who grew up in rural Oklahoma, and currently reside in rural Tennessee. Living as a gay man in these rural landscapes can often feel impossible, yet here I find a thriving and diverse community of queer and trans people to vision the new world along with me. The friendships that form my community have become important not only as subject matter, but also as inspiration and source material, with much of my work created in collaboration with artists who specialize in different media and forms than my own.

As an artist, I’m compelled by the conversation that happens at the intersection of philosophy, science, and art— a way to see the world prismatically and to unlearn harmful, antiquated social structures. I’ve always looked to science fiction as a model for how we can shape the future we want. By creating a fictionalized version of the future we desire, we take the first step toward its existence. 

 Most of my work utilizes in-camera effects, using sculpture, studio lights, and mirrors to allude to magical realism. By creating a physical moment of impossibility, I can hold it up to the rest of the world to show what else is possible. My work points to some of the joy inherent in this life, showing it to be as much of the present moment as it is of the future.

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