Forage Modern Workshop

Interview With Benjamin Rogers

InterviewJosef HarrisComment

We are so lucky to have two of Benjamin Rogers choice paintings hanging amongst our collection of curated goods. Both striking pieces carry strong punches of color and layers of depth. That once fixed to any wall, move you to stop and really examine the texture, the mood, and just how stunning they really are. Benjamin, having sought out years of education and then teaching for sometime himself, really knows how to be very thorough and explain his vision directly on the canvas. Makes sense as to why his work has been featured on the covers of 'New American Paintings' and 'Fresh Paint Magazine', hey?

You're not from Minneapolis originally - tell us about your journey here.

I was born in Cincinnati OH and grew up in nearby Kentucky. Studied Painting there and developed a SLIGHT southern drawl. I then went to graduate school studying painting at Louisiana State University and Arizona State University where I received my MFA. I moved back to Cincinnati and taught college kids how to draw during the day and worked for the post office at night. I did that for two years and then I was offered a full time teaching position at Normandale Community College so my wife and I moved to Minneapolis.

How long have you been painting? What it always something you thought you'd do?

I've been painting for 14 years, but I've only taken it seriously for the last 11 or so. I was interested in art as a young lad, but I thought I'd be a writer or a musician early on. At a certain point I had to make a decision and I was most passionate about making art so I decided to pursue that wholeheartedly. The sometimes frustrating thing about making art is how long it takes to make something truly original. I was painting for about eight years before I started making paintings that felt like they were really mine, but I feel like my work is much stronger because I had to endure that process of searching for my voice.

Whats your favorite rainy day song? 

I don't have a favorite rainy day song, a rainy day is just another day to me. Because I lived in Arizona for three years I didn't get to experience rainy or even overcast days very often, so I usually like rainy days. I suppose if I had to choose one it would be Elliott Smith's "Twilight" or J. Tillman's "I will return" just because I love sad music and sad music seems to pair perfectly with a rainy day.

What's the best meal you've had in the last year? 

The best meal I've had in the last year was probably the meal at my wedding last June. We had a small ceremony, about 40 people, and we all had a picnic together before we walked into the woods to get hitched. My brother-in-law made the star attraction of the picnic, the nashville hot chicken. If you haven't had nashville hot chicken, I'm not going to explain it, i'll just say that if you ever go to nashville find Prince's Chicken Shack and eat you some. Anyway it was the juiciest, crispiest fried, most flavorful fried chicken I have ever had and I was surrounded by people I love about to marry my favorite person. So it's kind of hard to beat that.

Any plans for the upcoming year for your work?

I have a Solo Exhibition at the Soo Visual Arts Center in August and this summer I'm going to be making a lot of work. We have a 2 month old son now, so we'll also be taking care of him a little bit. But other than that I have no idea what is next. My contract with Normandale is complete, it was only for one year, so I may try to live off of selling art for as long as I can.