Roberto Benavidez

United States

American artist Roberto Benavidez makes piñatas unlike any you’ve ever seen. Working with the usual materials—glue, paper, and balloons—he fuses the Mexican traditional craft with motifs pulled from nature and Western Art history; fantastical creatures pulled from illuminated manuscripts and Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights; lifelike birds and recreations of Rothkos. In his “painting piñatas,” meanwhile, colorful layers of hand-cut serrated fringe are glued onto canvas to create beautiful American landscapes. (No, they’re not full of candy.) Roberto’s work has been exhibited at Riverside Art Museum, the Mesa Arts Center, the Craft in America Center, and the Palo Alto Art Center, among other institutions.

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Looking for a more accessible medium than bronze casting, I was attracted to the piñata technique’s use of inexpensive materials, and was equally inspired by the piñata’s rich history.