We first featured the work of Arizona-based Carmen Benoit while doing a feature on children’s rooms and have avidly followed her creative work since then. We’re very excited to feature her artistry in our Modern Mastery series for you to enjoy.
Carmen Benoit of Carmen Illustrates
Carmen has been painting since she was a child, winning numerous awards along the way. She furthered her education by receiving a Fine Arts degree from Arizona State University. She started creating textile patterns and art for the clothing industry after graduation. And running into Carmen’s designs happened frequently. Whether it was seeing women buying her dresses at Lord & Taylor to watching Renee Zellweger sport another design as she’s romancing Tom Cruise in the film Jerry Maguire or even on the beach in Hawaii, seeing a couple laying on towels she had designed for the Disney Cruise Lines private label collection.
As exciting as the textile industry proved to be, Carmen felt she could do more. So in 1998, she decided to create her own business, Carmen Illustrates
, that would allow her to work with people on a more personal level to create custom living and working environments. She specializes in creative environments for home decor, children’s rooms and commercial spaces. Her design options range from wall finishing and texturing to thematic murals, trompe l’oeil, and three-dimensional artwork. Absolutely any hand-painted technique can be incorporated, from loose and whimsical to fine art detail and photo-realism.
How has Modern Masters enhanced your business?
I was first drawn to the Modern Masters line through the rich colors offered in the Metallic Paint Collection
and then slowly started incorporating their other products. Their Venetian Plaster is a staple product that I go to often for the traditional finish. . .its thick body works great for dimensional stencil effects and when thinned with about 15 – 20% water and brushed on furniture, it creates a really nice chalky refined finish. I also love using the Venetian Plaster
as a base for mural work or fine painting as the acrylic pigment soaks so beautifully into the plaster as opposed to sitting on the surface giving it a nice authentic feel to the artwork. The other product I find using on a regular basis is their Wall Glazing Cream
. It has a wonderful consistency and is not sticky at all which I have experienced with other glaze mediums and has a nice open time. I use it on walls finishes, for thinning my metallic colors, furniture, or anything I just want to build with nice, thin layers.
The cabinet was first sanded primed. A custom colored gray Venetian Plasters was thinned with water about 15 – 20% and brushed on vertically, giving a nice chalky finish. Diluted versions of Warm Silver and Champagne Metallic Paints were then used as a wash. The Wall Glazing Cream mixed with a little umber slight aged the piece and Platinum/Silver Matte Metallic
was lightly added in the insets. Finally, moire like elements were painted in front of the cabinet in Champagne Metallic Paint.
What is your dream art project?
If I were to put on my jammies and dream out loud it would definitely involve some travel to an exotic far off place. Europe for its history and wealth of knowledge, Morocco for its abundance of marvelous pattern and textures , and San Miquelle de Allende Mexico for its color and vigor, to name a few…working on perhaps a boutique hotel or destination space. I also love collaborating with other creatives, exploring new ways of approaching the creative process.
A custom mix of silver toned Modern Masters Metallic Paints add a geometric flair to a home gym.
What was your most memorable, challenging, and/or rewarding project?
A project that I did with Kim Harvey Creamer Interiors
to create an interactive and sensory rich garden-themed bedroom quarters for a mentally and physically disabled special needs adult. The wheelchair access and durability of the walls were paramount. Every square inch was painted and had to have a purpose to either educate or to stimulate.
Extensive planning was done to take into account imagery, colors, fabrics, and sheen levels. Interactive sound and light elements that were built into the wall to coordinate with mural elements. The main walls were done in a soft white with silver flecks that ombre down to deeper tones of grey, achieved with my fave Wall Glazing Cream and Glazing Cream Colors. The murals consisted of the family dog ready to go for a walk, a bird that would make sounds when activated by a button and a balloon that lit up when the sound of being filled with hot air.
Garden murals flanked either side of the bed with real tree limbs that was painted and fastened to the wall with birds and ribbons. A huge garden house constructed on site around the specialty bed was painted with black and white shingles, stripes and polka dots accented with splashes of color. The room had to function in so many ways but mostly as a positive uplifting space made to inspire and to make life a little more beautiful and easier for its occupant. It was truly magical and even more exciting to see my client’s face when she saw it for the first time.
Isn’t her work incredible? Thank you, Carmen, for sharing your extraordinary work with us! We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the heart and art of Carmen Benoit and be sure to visit her company website, Carmen Illustrates
, for more. You can also follow her on Facebook
. Stay inspired!