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david m. benson
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about the artist

art of the carolinasThe genesis of my art career was noted in the first grade.  I did not attend kindergarten.  My skills compensated for poor showings in reading and arithmetic.  I created drawings of flying “M” landscapes.  My ability in art seemed to impress the teacher as well as my fellow classmates.  During my early school days, I was characterized as the bashful odd child choosing to play alone rather than allowing myself to interact with other children.  I was the last chosen for competitive games when teams were selected.  Art class became my sanctuary and my refuge.  Thank God for that.

Flying “M's” in my landscapes gave way to imaginary figurative compositions with a little more sophistication.  During my early days I would characterize myself as a renaissance man.  I was a renaissance man of recycle.  This recycle process allowed me to place old ideas and sketches continuously in new works.

about the work

The subject matter of my work rarely strays from the familiar.  Unless given an assignment or commissioned work, I stay with a subject that I am most comfortable with. Sin Eaters, Last Rites, Death of the Virgin, Quilting “B's”, Salvation Shows, and She Wolf scenes impact great emotion and are loaded with emotion, drama, and opinion. I choose scenes that seldom drift from the human figure. I like art that tells a story and encourages the viewer to get actively involved.

My objective is to start the story and then let the observer form the climax and closure.  If the experience is intimate and if the experience is spiritual, then the work can be classified as successful.  Few of my works would be described as abstract or non-objective.  Being representational allows connection with the narrative process.  This adds substance and communication to my work. 

When someone tells me that my figures are distorted and my perspective is off, I just tell them that I will throw in a compass for their benefit.  Mark Twain once sent a publisher a whole page of periods, commas, and question marks when they complained about his punctuation.  He told them to place those devices wherever they saw fit.  I feel much the same about distortions and perspective.  Take a picture or hire an architect if you want perfect compositions.

My interest in Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Max Ernst, Andy Warhol, and a handful of Impressionists are clearly evident.  Someday I expect to be slapped by Leonardo for the way I've abused Mona Lisa in my works.  I use little color, opting for mostly achromatic and monochromatic palettes.  I guess you can blame my college professor Sara Setzer for those influences.  I do love to use lots of contour lines, and I believe the more bizarre the media, the more opportunity for discovery and expression. Aesthetics are not the essential to the themes of my work.  My culture and my human experiences reflect the way I choose to represent myself and my subjects.  My art is my catharsis.

david benson david benson david benson david benson

selected exhibitions


  • 2010—One Man Exhibition Elder Gallery
  • 2009—One Man Exhibition Elder Gallery -  Charlotte, N.C.
  • 2009—The Arts Company Gallery – Nashville, T.N.
  • 2008—Invitational Exhibition Spartanburg Art Museum Chapman Cultural Center
  • 2008—Group Exhibition Southern Exposure Red Clover Gallery - Landrum, S.C.
  • 2008—Group Exhibition Southern Exposure Upstairs Gallery - Tryon, N.C.
  • 2007—Group Exhibition Southern Exposure Carolina Gallery – Spartanburg, S.C.
  • 1992—One-man Show, Spartanburg Day School
  • 1992—Southern Exposure, 101 Wooster Gallery, New York, N.Y.
  • 1987—One-man Show, Pickens County Museum of Art
  • 1985—One-man Show, Spartanburg Museum of Art
  • 1984—Accepted in 1984 Henley Paper Southeastern Spectrum, Juried Exhibition
  • 1984—One-man Show, Wofford College
  • 1984—Accepted in 1984 South Carolina Art Commission, Annual Exhibition, Clemson University
  • 1984—One-man Show, Spartanburg Day School Fourth Annual Juried Exhibition of Greenville Artists’ Guild
  • 1983—Represented in 1983 Henley Paper Annual Exhibition, Winston Salem NC
  • 1982—Represented in 1982 South Carolina Arts Commission Annual Exhibition
  • 1981—Represented in the Biennial Piedmont Graphics Juried Competition in Greenville, SC
  • 1980—6th Annual Curator’s Choice, Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville, SC
  • 1980—First Arts Council Choice Artist Exhibition, Spartanburg, SC Art Center
  • 1979—One-man Show, Spartanburg Artists’ Guild Gallery




  • 2011—Merit Award $200 Cash Award Belton Annual Juried Exhibition
  • 2011—Merit Award 2011 Annual Juried Exhibit,
    Spartanburg Artists Guild
  • 2011—Merit Award, 36tth Juried Show,
    Anderson Arts Center Leo Twiggs Juror
  • 2010—$200 cash merit Award 35th,
    Annual Juried Exhibition Anderson Fine Arts Center
  • 2010—$500 Merit Award 12thth Annual Belton Juried Exhibition
  • 2009—Merit Award, 11thth Annual Belton Juried Exhibition
  • 2009— Best in Show, 41st Annual Sidewalk Art Show,
    Spartanburg Museum of Art
  • 2008—Third Place, 29tthh Annual Juried Exhibition,
    Pickens Museum of Art
  • 2007—Merit Award, 32nd Annual Spartanburg Artists Guild
    Juried Show
  • 2006—Merit Award, Anderson County Annual Juried Exhibition
  • 2006—Merit Award, Belton Art Center Annual Juried Show
  • 2006—Merit Award, 31st Spartanburg Artists Guild Annual
    Juried Exhibition
  • 2004—1st Place, Drawing Annual Sidewalk Art Exhibit, Spartanburg Museum Of Art
  • 2002—3rd Place, South Carolina Watercolor Society’s Annual Juried Show, 2002-2003 Traveling Show
  • 2001—Merit Award, lSpartanburg Artist Guild Annual Juried Show
  • 2001—1st Place, Painting & 1st Place, Professional Sculpture,
    Annual Sidewalk Art Exhibition
  • 2001—Award of Merit, South Carolina Watercolor Society’s
    Annual Show, (2001 traveling show)
  • 2000—Award of Merit, South Carolina Watercolor Society’s Annual Juried Exhibition, (2001 traveling show)
  • 2000—Best In Show, 33rd Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Spartanburg Museum of Art
  • 1999—Best in Show, Spartanburg Annual Sidewalk Art Exhibition, $2000 Cash Award
  • 1998—2nd Place, Open Media, Annual Spartanburg Sidewalk Art Exhibit
  • 1998—Purchase Award, 1st Annual Burwell Print Competition, Spartanburg Art Museum
  • 1997—1st Place, Painting, Annual Sidewalk Art Exhibition
  • 1997—2nd Place, Painting, Annual Juried Exhibition,
    Guild Of Spartanburg Artists
  • 1996—1st Place, Painting & 3rd Place in Open Media, Spartanburg Sidewalk Art Exhibit
  • 1996—Honorable Mention, 19th Annual Pickens County Juried Exhibition
  • 1996—Merit Award, 19th Annual Juried Exhibition, South Carolina Watercolor Society
  • 1994—Purchase Award, 19th Annual Anderson Arts Council
    Juried Exhibition
  • 1993—State of The Art 1993, The New England Fine Arts Institute’s National Invitational
  • 1993—3rd Place, 5th Annual Nations Bank Juried Show
  • 1993—Ernest W. Burwell Purchase Award, 1st Place, Painting, 2nd Place, Open Media, Annual
  • Spartanburg Sidewalk Art Exhibit
  • 1992—Merit Award Mixed Media, 34th Annual Springs Art Show
  • 1991—3rd Place, 3rd Annual NCNB Juried Art Exhibition
  • 1991—Award of Merit, 33rd Annual Springs Industries
  • 1991—1st Place, Open media,
    Annual Spartanburg Sidewalk Art Exhibition
  • 1990—Award of Merit, 32nd Annual Springs Industries Exhibition
  • 1989—Best in Show, 23rd Annual Sidewalk Art Show
  • 1989—Third Place, 2nd Annual NCNB Bank Show
  • 1988—Award of Merit, Annual Juried Exhibition,
    Guild of South Carolina Artists
  • 1988—Award of Merit, 37th Guild of South Carolina Artists
  • 1988—Best in Show, 22nd Annual Spring Sidewalk Art Show
  • 1988—Award of Merit, Spring Industry 30th Annual Juried Show
  • 1988—Purchase Award, NCNB 1st Annual Art Exhibition
  • 1987—Award of Merit, Annual Juried Show, Guild of SC Artists
  • 1986—Best in Show, Annual Juried Show Guild of Spartanburg
  • 1983—Award of Merit, 1983 Annual Spartanburg Artists
    Guild Exhibition
  • 1983—Recipient of the Dr. Vera C. Hyman Award of Merit , 33rd Guild of South Carolina Artists Exhibition, Florence Museum
  • 1983—Award in Profession Graphics, 17th Annual Annual Sidewalk Exhibit, Spartanburg SC.
  • 1979 - Winning Entry selected for reproduction in the Evans Mural Competition, Spartanburg, S.C., Sponsored by Spartanburg Arts Council
  • 1978 - Merit Award, Limestone College Annual Juried Exhibition; Juror: Carol Augthun
  • 1978 - Purchase Award, Annual Sidewalk Exhibit; Juror:  Rebecca Davenport, Washington, D.C.
  • 1977 - Merit Award, Limestone College, Annual Spring Juried Exhibit
  • 1977 - Purchase Award, Annual sidewalk Art Exhibit; Sponsored by Spartanburg Art Association
  • 1976 - Best in Show, Limestone College, Annual Spring Juried Exhibit


special honors


  • Presently has seven works of art housed in the permanent collection of The Spartanburg Museum of Art
  • 2000 Spartanburg Artists Guild named a special David Benson Student Award given annually; Focus on Youth Annual Juried Exhibition
  • 2010 Artisphere Festival of Art Greenville S.C. represented by Elder Gallery
  • 2010 - Juried into 1st “Carolina's Got Art” Exhibition, Charlotte, N.C.
  • 2010 - Spartanburg Art Museum 1 of 24 artist’s invitational “The Chair Affair” fundraiser exhibition 
  • 2009 - Whetshell Fellowship Scholarship Invitational Wofford College directed study instructor
  • 2008 - Became a member of Elder Gallery Charlotte, N.C. Mr. Larry Elder Director and Artist Representative
  • 2008 - Retired from Spartanburg school District Six. Served as Chairman of Fine Arts at Paul Dorman High School the last three years before retirement from public education
  • 2008 - At retirement, art students received a total of 10 National Gold Medals in Scholastic Arts
  • 2008 - One student was invited to produce a Christmas Ornament to hang on the 2008 White House Christmas Tree
  • 2000 - Silk Screen Print “Piedmont Café” Hangs in the Spartanburg Fourth Congressional Office
  • 1996 - Appointed to serve three year term Board of Directors Spartanburg Arts Partnership
  • 1996 - Appointed Chairman of Exhibitions Spartanburg Arts Council
  • 1992 - Served as Exhibit Committee Chairman of the Spartanburg Arts Council
  • 1989 to 1992 - Served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Spartanburg Arts Council
  • 1986 - Served as Vice-President of the South Carolina Artists' Guild
  • 1984 - Commissioned to do a Tryptic Collage Series for
  • Greenville Bank, Inc. August 1984
  • 1983 - Art Lecture and Slide Presentation, Woodruff Arts Center, May 1983
  • 1983 - Judge of Annual Spring Juried Student Exhibit, Limestone College, Spring 1983
  • 1983 - Art purchased by Doctor's Memorial Hospital
  • 1981 - Presented workshop in Experimental Drawing for the South Carolina Art Education Association Fall Conference
  • 1979 - Designer of Evans Human Resource Center outdoor mural “Tribute to a Southern Past” Spartanburg,S.C.
  • 1978 - Joined the Spartanburg Visual Art Group, Southern Exposure
featured work


david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist david m benson artist


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