Hector Alonzo Benavides

 

        Born in 1952, Hector Benavides died in his sleep at his home in South Texas on July 18, 2005. He was known for his obsessive drawings of woven lines, dots and triangles using his signature tools ofstraight edge and ultra-fine-point rolling-ball pens. He first started drawing portraits in his characteristic style as a young child. Through the years his work became increasingly abstract with an occasional bird of animal which might appear hidden among the abstractions.

        Benavides liked to work 10-15 hours a day on his drawings and referred to the squares of the woven lines as the cage he lived in, and the circles as his escape from the obsessive compulsive disorder that afflicted him. He was a devout Catholic and referred to the triangles he drew as a representation of the Holy Trinity, repeating this again and again like a mantra.

        Benavides worked as a night watchman and lived most of his life with his mother in Laredo, Texas. Following her death he moved to San Antonio and later settled at the family ranch in South Texas. The artist dedicated all of his subsequent work to his mother.

        His work was featured in the traveling exhibition, Spirited Journeys, Self Taught Artists of the Twentieth Century. During the time of this exhibition, Benavides spoke at the Folk Art Society of America's Houston symposium. His sincere love for the gift he was given touched those who heard him. "I hope the whole world can see what I see in my head," he told the FASA group.

        Benavides' work has been included in exhibitions in many Texas museums. His work is in the permanent collection of Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and The Center for Creative Living in Hartford, Connecticut, among others.

        Each of his works offers a view into the mind of this talented man, driven to create a world of his own, filled with obsessive emotional energy. His own words say it best: "Through my art I have taken a negative and turned it into a positive."