Work

Ben Schlitz

About

Welcome to the gateway between your life and mine. Creating art isn’t what I do, creating art is who I am. I grew up on the south side of Chicago and am a product of the Chicago Public School system. From a young age I was involved in the arts and understood that it was not only a way to communicate, but also a business. In 5 th grade I was commissioned to do a portrait of a family’s home and from that point on I knew that art would be my career. Drawing and painting was my passion and trying to capture the realism and the essence of my subject was a must. Although I felt as if there was a void, thst I needed to strive to be bigger and more hands on. At the age of 16, I created and sold my first Chainsaw Carving. This was a major shift in my art and it was then, that I became heavily involved in the arts.

In 1999, I graduated from The Chicago Academy for Fine Arts having many attributes under my wings. In my collegiate career, I truly soared. I was a scholarship winner, a leader in all forms of art and an innovator through my thesis work. To create my thesis, I carefully and painstakingly hand installed salvaged trees from forest preserves and placed them in an urban setting. I wanted this to bring attention to the physical labor involved in creating art and also manipulate the viewers’ senses as they are confronting nature in an industrial setting. These themes would become the foundation for much of my artwork. In 2003, I graduated in the head of my class from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with afocus in sculpture and public art. After graduation, I established my fine art company in Chicago, BenOfficial Productions. Through this company, I was propelled into the arts, bringing my translation of nature and city life to Chicago through the creation of large scale sculptures and carvings.

At 23 I participated in the Open Studio Project on State and Lake Street where I filled a gallery with carved trees and performed live daily in a storefront setting. This was one of the largest carving projects BenOfficial Productions has taken on and it allowed me to introduce the art of chainsaw carving to the City of Chicago with upwards of a million viewers daliy. My ideas created such an uproar and good response in the City that an entire project was based around my concept of relocating trees and turning them into art. The site location for my largest carving to date is at 31 st Street Beach. This carving is part of a multimillion dollar project in which I was a front runner, leader, and the initial artist to kick off the movement of chainsaw carving large trees in the City if Chicago. BenOfficial Productions can take on any size and shape and can collaborate with you to make your idea a reality. We are a full service art making machine capable of conquering the smallest and biggest of projects. Whether fabricating or installing, BenOfficial Productions is a self sufficient business that can handle big corporations, as well as mom and pop shops. Welcome to my site where we are “Producing what’s BenOfficial.”

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