Bio

Updated Apr 15, 2020

Artsy Bio:

Mr Benja is a new brand of contemporary pop painter out of the port city of San Pedro, CA. His work derives from his childhood and challenging time in the video game industry.

Mr Benja’s primary art project is known as The 8BitCubist. It is a focused exploration of humanity’s relationship with the game of life in an approachable yet deep manner. Iconography (powerups, items, weapons, tools, levels, bonuses, and characters) are recreated as larger than life compositions of color and form that invites viewers to play along with multiple concepts. As the artist explains, “Life Imitates Game.”

Throughout his life, Benja was trained in art directly from his parents. His father, Earl, was a sign painter, printmaker, and portrait artist for the State of Florida. His mother, Shirley was an operatic concert singer and university professor of music. They instilled within him a hunger for creativity and expression.

As a child, Benja became enamored with video games and computer programming as ways to learn and create new forms of art. This led him to a unique appreciation of our relation to computers and entertainment. Benja obtained degrees in Information Systems and Software Engineering from Florida A&M University and Michigan State University, respectively. From there he would go on to create and design video games for companies such as Sony, 3DO, and Rockstar Games. All this time, traditional painting and art remained a driving force.

Mr Benja’s artwork has been shown in several alternative venues, such as the San Diego Comic Con, WonderCon, PAX East, as well as more traditional outlets such as Giant Robot in LA, Thumbprint Gallery in San Diego, Studio 361 of San Pedro, and the LTD Gallery in Seattle. He is now working to make art his full time profession.



Details:

Birthplace: New Orleans.
Mother: concert opera singer + university professor at Florida A & M University; from Louisiana
Father: sign painter and portrait artist for the State of Florida; from Mississippi
Raised in Tallahassee Florida
Youngest after Elijah, Lisa, Lori, and Mallory

Youth Ed:
  • North Florida Christian School
  • Florida A & M Developmental Research School
  • NFCS Marching Eagles
  • Howard University Children's Theater
  • It's All About Children Music Group

Higher Ed:
  • Florida A &; M University - BS in Computer Information Systems
  • Michigan State University - MS in Software Engineering
Internships:
  • Eli Lilly
  • 3M
  • Cargill
  • Clark Atlanta Computing Seminar Series
  • University of Minnesota Supercomputing Center
Industry Work:
  • The 3DO Company
    • My first game industry job
    • This company went bankrupt on my watch; I couldn't save it
    • I learned game programming there
  • Rockstar Games San Diego
    • I turned into designer and scripter
    • Lead Designed Rockstar Games Presents: Table Tennis
    • Worked on Secret Stuff
  • GamerCon
    • I was one of the directors when they were building up. It's quite a bit different now
  • WowWee
    • They made some augmented-reality apps and needed a game manager
  • Sony Santa Monica
    • Secret Stuff
    • Did precursor script/tech to God of War, PS4

Events and Conventions Where I Have Presented at Booths:
  • PAX East
  • WonderCon
  • San Diego Comic Con
  • Anacon
  • GamerCon
  • LB Zine Fest
Random Bits:
  • ACME Comedy Club - Where I perfected shit-talking and being humorous
  • Europe: mind-blowing train tour
  • Itxapa/Zihuatenejo: self-discovering Mexican immersion session
  • Semca Pharmacy - managed the store and operations there, got put out by corporate CVS mobsters
  • Creator of The 8Bit Cubist


If you're curious about details, I could probably make pages for all of these. Let me know.

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