Benito Longoria is a 19 year old artist from Missouri with a big vision. Although he is currently focused on painting, his aspirations go much further – video, technology, and augmented reality have all played a part in his recent endeavors and will be important in his future career. Currently working on opening his own studio, Longoria tells us of his plans for the future and how he came to be in the position he’s in. It’s clear that he has a very bright future ahead. Take a look at his art and read our interview below.
Your more recent work seems to feature a style of uniquely mixing realism and cartoon-ish elements. How did you come to settle into this style?
At the stylistic level, it’s been a long search for balance in my work. Since I was quite young, I remember I always used to bounce back and forth between ‘cartoon-ish’ character drawings and hyper-realistic portraits. I loved to test my technical skill, but the characters always were more pleasing in the way I built stories around them. The work you’re seeing now is built on that foundation; but it’s all combined into a world of duality. The style is meant to feel familiar and self-reflective, yet slightly offsetting. I’ve been writing for quite a while expanding upon the relationships between concept and style, and I have plans to take it much further than where you see it now.
I’m excited to see where you can take it, especially after you shared that look at your augmented reality-based art. I’m assuming that will play a part in your plans to take things further?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve only recently begun learning more about coding and AR development, and it’s like I became a child again. It’s very important to keep exposing yourself to new knowledge and tools. Movies, video games, augmented and virtual reality…there’s endless possibilities to combine, expand, and push things forward. In terms of creating new experiences for interaction or immersion with art, AR has a good place in the future of my work.
That’s very exciting and I look forward to seeing what you do with it in the future. It sounds like your creativity has many different facets – what else do you make besides paintings?
I do film besides my painting. I’d say that’s secondary at the moment, but there will be a time in the future after I have gained more solid ground in my career that I will focus on filmmaking. Along with that comes music, writing, designing – all things that I work with but on a lesser scale. I believe all forms of creation are necessary to build a world, which is the main goal. It all ties together in the end. Possibly I’d like to make a video game someday as well.
What projects are you currently working on that you can tell us about?
Right now my main focus is building a studio space. For the longest time, I’ve just needed a solid place to work in. I dropped out of art school, but the studio there was one of my favorite perks. Our studio is called “QZ Studio & Gallery.” The studio will function as an art gallery as well. Working with a few others, we actually plan to present exhibitions outside of our location all over the US and eventually international. Once we get everything set up, there will be a lot more work coming from me. A lot of projects have been on hold just until this studio gets worked out. Really, really look forward to pushing stuff out of there very soon.
That sounds sick, I’ll have to come visit sometime and check it out. What made you drop out of art school?
Everything. It just didn’t work for me. Before graduating high school, I actually debated the decision to start my career or go to art school. I decided to give art school a try, but it was a huge ache for me. I still have a great amount to learn about myself and my work, but one thing I am thankful for is that I know what I want to do and I really, really believe in it. Going to school, for me, was never intended to be a journey to a degree anyway. I wanted to learn, and I decided that it wasn’t the way I wanted to learn. I think everyone can learn anything on their own, if that’s the type of person they are. Maybe I’ll end up going back, but it definitely won’t be for art.
Can you expand on what you were talking about earlier with the national and international exhibitions? Do you plan to feature different artists in each?
Yeah, I’m currently working with a good friend of mine and wonderful artist Daniel Zeballos to curate the first of these shows presented by QZ. I can;t say too much for this one specifically, other than it’s planned to be a two-part show; two cities, two galleries. What I really want to do is continue to collaborate with various galleries and artists in the surrounding areas, meet and feature new artists everywhere we go. Going international and reaching more international artists is just a matter of time.
In an ideal world, what do you see yourself doing in five to ten years? What’s your dream job?
My dream job is an astronaut of some kind. I don’t think I could do that in five to ten years, but at some point. I really just want to create and constantly bump up the scale of things to make the larger ideas possible. Painting is first, right now. But in 10 years, I may be completely focused on technology, or maybe filmmaking. I’m working towards the freedom to be able to make those changes. I want to collaborate with everyone and learn as much as I can. In five years, I’d like to be collaborating with SpaceX as well.