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Q&A with artist Benji Steane

Talented Darwin artist Benji Steane is the winner of our November Cover Art Competition. Currently studying a Bachelor of Creative Arts and Industries (New Media Design) at Charles Darwin University, Steane aspires to work as a matte painter and digital artist for the film and television industry. We sat down with Steane for a chat – and we reckon he's one to watch.

Where did you grow up?  

I grew up in Darwin, enjoying everything the Territory has to offer, and graduated high school from O’Loughlin Catholic College in 2008. I then moved to the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and lived there for three years before moving back to Darwin to be closer to my family.  

Did you always want to be an artist?

Deep down yes I did, but as a life long stutterer, I suffered social anxiety for years, working in industries that required minimal speaking, such as truck driving. Now recovered, I have turned my life around and am living life to the fullest, achieving my dreams and having a blast along the way. If there is anyone reading this who stutters and would like to get help, check out The McGuire Programme.

Who inspires you? 

Passionate people. I get so inspired to create my own pieces when I see other creatives putting their heart and soul into their work. Franck Gohier is a local artist who has been a huge inspiration for me this past year. I am also heavily influenced by environment concept artists and matte painters from the VFX (visual effects) industry such as Simon Scales, Dylan Cole and James Paick.

Where has your work most recently shown? 

My latest screen printing work, ‘Hollywood Territory’ was recently showcased in the group exhibition Fledgling: The best of CDU print students 2016. 

The brief for this month's cover competition was 'Valuing Darwin's Water Supply'. Tell us about your winning piece, 'The Battle of Aqua'.

The artwork is a fantasy take on the issue of water abuse among  domestic users. The soldiers have barramundi heads and breathe with the use of upside down fishbowls on their heads, full of water. They are headed towards the castle for battle; to rescue the abused water and restore order in the land. The castle represents our homes, and the towers, representations of sprinklers and shower heads. Our backyards are green but the water sources are running dry. Often ignorant to the consequences of excessive water use, this artwork establishes a forum for discussion on the issue.

Steane’s debut documentary film Serenaty screens at the Charles Darwin Film Festival, Saturday 12  November, 6pm at the Darwin Entertainment Centre.

For more info on Benji's work, check out his website and Facebook page

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