jens g.r. benthien
At the age of 12 or 13 (I really don't remember it) I
woke up (meaning: my consciousness finally came into being): when my parents changed my life with a nice, simple, robust and foolproof 2.5 x 2.5 inch camera. A new world opened up for me, and I discovered the world
with new eyes, shaping my visual perception.
The following years I learned to draw and paint. My
father was my teacher, showing me how to set up perspective drawings, free hand drawings and the whole nine yards. In school and college I almost failed the fine art course, because I was addicted to drawing
products, landscapes, buildings - anything except what was required.
I dug deep into mechanics, because my father - besides
his artistic knowledge and experience - was a technician and highly skilled craftsman. So I closely watched everything he did and how he approached every new task: building homes, developing toys for my younger
brother, repairing boats - just about everything. A few years later my brother set up a black and white photo lab in the cellar - the logical step to be independent from external photo labs, and enabling me to
enhance the final look of my photographs.
After my German 'Abitur' and BA I decided to study
advertising, commercial art and marketing in the USA. Something next to impossible in Germany at that time. America was my first encounter with a very open minded mentality: everything IS possible. The world started
looking different again, without any restrictions, prohibitive laws and the restrictive German attitude of small minded thinking. This was paradise for me!
Next I joined a small movie production company with a
photo studio where I learned the art and craft of movie making (with real celluloid, not video!), sound editing and movie production management - and of course the art of studio photography, lighting, exposure, and
post production. A couple of years as an 'associate producer' followed until one day I thought: this can't be what I am going to do for the rest of my life!
So I started to exploit my artistic side: airbrush,
mechanical sketching, product design - you name it, I did it. I started to use a personal computer in 1986. In Hong Kong I visited an ad agency that used Corel Draw 1.0. That was it! A must-have for me. So I grabbed
a copy and was the first Corel user in Germany! What progress and what an experience!
But I wanted more. Much more. So I went on, adding more
applications, slowly migrating from the 2D world to the 3D and from the static to the animated world, learning new technology with every passing day. I continued developing products, illustrations, working on multi
media (thanks to my experience and know how in the movie making it was a snap).
Today, at the young age of forty eight, I still learn a
lot every day. In today's world where everything accelerates daily, I turn back and develop 'simple' and reliable objects and products: Nothing can beat the reliability and stability of a rock solid mechanical
Decades ago a Scandinavian designer told me: real art is
the professional approach to reduce everything to a minimum. It seems this statement influenced my life more than I would admit at first. But over the years his statement proved to be true.
1991 I have designed our new home (design includes
architecture!) and built it together with my wife and the help of some specialists (though I know a lot I don't know everything).
I'm currently living with my wife Sigi and our four
parrots in a tiny village called Hellwege (meaning 'White Sandy Ways') in North Germany, in a remote location in the woods between the major ports of Bremen and Hamburg. Our life is influenced by Zen and Buddhism.
If you should plan to visit this part of the world, you are welcome to stop by and visit us for a day or two or three or ...
My web site portfolio: http://www.sacalobra.de