From the Artist

311431_10150350671268050_200202206_nI believe we all have a right and the duty to live doing what we really love. Which means being able to learn about what interests us most and, if it requires a special talent or dexterity, to get good at it and to become acquainted with people of similar persuasions so that, ultimately, we are able to share what we’ve learned and motivate others.

Ever since I was very young, I’ve loved the art of Ancient Egypt. I remember playing with red clay from our neighborhood construction site and modeling miniature sphinxes and pyramids. I was fascinated when I read in our local paper a report about the relocation of the temples of Abu Simbel during the construction of the Aswan Dam. That colossal image of a smiling Ramses the Great always intrigued me. I never saw the pharaohs as ruthless dictators; they always possessed benign features, never a hard gaze but rather a still and quiet one.

My father, Clemente Morales Rodriguez, was an illustrator and from him I learned the first steps of the art of drawing. Through copying ancient Egyptian pictures from magazines and books, I became aware of the core aspects of the Egyptian style and how those anonymous artists were capable of depicting royalty with individual characteristics.

I also marveled at the hieroglyphs. What a fantastic idea to write with pictures and arrange them in almost every possible direction, combining images and words thousands of years before man invented advertising.

Advertising was my career for nearly two decades. It began with my art studies in San Francisco in the 1980′s. I wanted to become an illustrator, and my teacher encouraged me in this, but my graphic design and art direction instructor persuaded me to develop my sense of design and my creativity in developing communication concepts. I learned a good deal and earned a substantial income from my career, which enabled me to travel and to at last fulfill my dream of visiting Egypt. Witnessing the mighty head of Ramses the Second at Abu Simbel took me back to my childhood. If you’ve ever experienced moments in your adult life that bring you back to your days of innocence and wonder, you’re very fortunate.

I’ve always wanted to make a living doing what I know best and what I love. Ideally, everyone should have the freedom to pursue happiness. One way to achieve this goal personally was to unite my two passions—Art and Ancient Egypt. In 1992, I established a workshop/store to manufacture and distribute replicas of antiquities, primarily Egyptian, Greek and Roman. I almost went broke but, rather than give it up, I put my design and advertising skills to work producing catalogs of my ancient Egyptian tomb painting replicas while placing ads in Archaeology Magazine. That was before the internet made it easier and fashionable to generate revenue globally. My replicas were acquired by collectors in North America, Europe and Australia.

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At the dawn of the new century, I felt ready to embark in the field of fine arts at a professional level. In the medium of painting, I set out on a creative journey working both in abstraction and in the figurative genre, choosing what best suited the concept or subject matter I was striving to convey. What unifies my body of work is a sense of composition and design, for which I am indebted to the masters of ancient Egyptian art. Since then, I’ve had six solo shows and participated in various collective exhibitions. I was also asked to conduct basic painting courses for two semesters at the Continued Studies Department of the School of Fine Arts of Puerto Rico. At present, I teach basic and advanced drawing and painting in the San Juan metro area.

Contemporary visual artists are inevitably confronted with the medium of photography. Unlike the Old Masters, a great deal of what we perceive today is seen through the photographic lens. I couldn’t ignore this reality and so have done some photography, not as an end in itself but as a way of reference to painting. Notwithstanding, I was awarded First Prize at the Amateur Archaeology Photography Contest in Archaeology Magazine and featured with a center spread in the November 1998 issue.

In 2005, I created BMC PhotoArt, my first formal website, an art and photography tutorial site utilizing Photoshop software. It recently surpassed 1,000,000 page views. My photoart tutorials are experimented with around the world and in the U.S. have been used at college level in computer art courses.

Ben Morales-Correa

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