b. 1963, New York
Benjamin Birillo Jr. is a New York-based artist whose artistic practice draws upon his formal design training and life experiences steeped in the culture of the New York City Pop Art world. Growing up among artistic luminaries inspired Masi to pursue a career in art and design, first graduating from NYC’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School of Math and Science, and later, attended School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.
This diverse upbringing was very influential to his selection of subject, use of color, and the simplicity of form in his work. Many of his ideas regarding composition are steeped in variations of classic motifs that go back to antiquity.
Birillo counts Roy Lichtenstein, Ernest Trova, Stephen De Staebler, and Dieter Appelt among his artistic influences due to each artist’s innovative use of materials, technical production skills, textures, and application of color.
Birillo ’s Lava works draw on the inherent nature of the material, often juxtaposed and combined with classical mathematical ideas of proportion. This allows him to exploit the balance of proportion and color as defining elements.
Birillo distills a complex paint application process into its purest elements. He creates his own paints from specialized pigments, and layers them to create highlight and shadow within what would initially appear as a monochromatic plane.
According to Birillo , it is the viewer who becomes most central to the experience. He believes the viewer needs freedom to experience the work as they see it without any preconceived notions dictated by the artist. This way, each piece can become the author of its own existence, and each viewer the true creator of any meaning. This approach keeps both Birillo , and the work, honest.