We had the good fortune of connecting with Ariana Bennardo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ariana, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I pursued working in an artistic field because it`s a communicative medium. Historically, and currently, art and design shape cultures, bringing on new perspectives. My work continues to evolve, along with the insight and thought process behind it, allowing me to learn about the world and share my sentiments and findings with others. My work, like all other creatives`, is an individualized print constructed in physical form, as unique as ones` fingerprints. It`s incredibly exhilarating and humbling to be part of this world, and I hope to impart my knowledge on my audience, shifting their perspectives to view things in a new light. The current goal is to invite my viewers to question more, and to alter their idea of the symbiosis between life and death, shown in my portrayals of such, and working with natural materials such as bones, wood and pelts.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For my paintings, I work in various mediums, to evoke an aesthetic inspired by nature, and the relationship between life and death. All of my projects exemplify the natural world, using the resources we have in the earth to create. From using precious metals and minerals in my pieces, to creating pigments sourced from an outing, and even to painting on found wood slices, I incorporate what is readily available.
Often containing a surreal feel, my pieces birth dream-like distortions and underlying psychological tones. Many of my paintings are mirrored, to demonstrate the duality of life and death, and encourage the viewer’s own individualized interpretation, much like an inkblot test.
For the adornments side of my work, I incorporate bones sourced from natural death and even roadkill. The flesh is cleared from the specimen with the use of Dermestid beetles (of the family Dermestidae), of which I have been cultivating a colony of for just this purpose. They are excellent to clean even delicate appendages, albeit a bit stinky.
I commonly work with snake vertebrae, carefully and meticulously crafting earrings from them to show off their beauty. Other materials I use are hides, roadkill rabbit furs and various other specimens, from coyote, to alligator and more. I do my research and work in harmony with nature as best as I can, with sustainability high in mind. My pieces come from the dust, made to return to it, avoiding the detrimental impact fast fashion often has on our environment.
All of this has been an accumulation of my experiences, my belief about the wonderful part mortality plays in the life cycle. My passion has stemmed from a deeply integrated admiration I`ve always had for learning of the ways things operate, and is encouraged by those I cross who see my work and feel uneasy. I`m able to share what I know, and explain the way I live by my pieces. To allow others to look deeper and gain their own respect for the planet we share, instilling curiosity in my fellow humans.
Operating in this way, especially with death, brings controversy, but I have welcomed adversity as it has always been a way to grow, further myself and develop new insights.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
While I have been in Los Angeles just about two years, there really is a myriad of places I love and would share! I would bring around a friend to any of the gardens around, to bask in the sunshine like lizards and enjoy the nature. Some visits to parks in the area would of course be in order, and I feel it`s obligatory to bring them to the Griffith Observatory. We would also tour many of the great art museums LA has to offer, being sure to visit the Natural History Museum. A stop at the beach, some exploring and wandering would also entail.
For nightlife, I would bring them to the array of warehouse shows prevalent in non-Covid times, bring them to The Standard bar for an ethereal view of the city, or even visit one of my favorite restaurants, Little Sister.
The rest of the time, I`d be sure to roll with the flow of life and allow spontaneous actions and outings to occur!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many wonderful humans who have supported me despite my odd antics. I`m thankful for all of my friends who are like family to me (you know who you are) and even more thankful to all those who opposed me- you just made me fight harder.
It goes without saying, that I am also incredibly thankful to live in this vastly inspiring planet, where I am able to learn something new, something weird, every day.
Other: Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/lostinthewoodsart
Brian Greenbaltt Walter Morales Ariana Bennardo