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From Cave Creek to there and back

Staff Report~ 4/16/2014

Artist Benjamin Kastelic grew up spending hours roaming the vast landscape of the Sonoran Desert north of Cave Creek. He developed a keen eye for the fine details of the natural world.
His gift for spotting dynamic shapes, miniature forms, unusual textures and color combinations translated into numerous journal notes, sketches and paintings. His interpretations grew into his signature style of abstract, expressionistic mixed media paintings. This collection Benjamin calls “KoiFox.”
As a student at Cactus Shadows High School, Benjamin won Best Male Artist for his junior and senior years, 1998-2000. He also gathered numerous awards connected to his designs for school T-shirts, yearbook covers, CD jackets and large wall murals.
Desert Foothills Theater’s managing director became aware of his flair for the dramatic—in visual form—and with one call had Benjamin drawing, building and painting sets for a number of high profile theater productions.
Benjamin’s busy schedule in the arts did not prevent him from participating in his second love: baseball. He took his throwing arm out and played left field on the Falcon Varsity Baseball Team.
Upon graduation in May 2000, Benjamin received a scholarship to the Phoenix Art Institute for study in graphic design. During that time, Benjamin developed a passion for bright color, new age themes and alternative image combinations.
In 2005, he relocated to Prescott to continue his education in early childhood development at Yavapai College, building on his background as a teacher aide and former student of the Montessori education philosophy.
The living arrangement in Prescott became another key turning point in Benjamin’s creative development: He found himself residing in a cabin on the Prescott National Forest. The open space of the floor plan was an ideal environment for his painting studio. Walls of windows gazed into a forest of towering Ponderosa pine, sturdy oak and graceful chaparral. Benjamin continued his life long love of hiking, rock climbing and teaching youth kayaking at the Prescott YMCA, while turning another corner in his creative process.
June 2012 found Benjamin back in the Sonoran Desert of Cave Creek, preparing for his next creative transition. He joined forces with his brother in producing textile designs on eco-friendly fabrics. Benjamin’s paintings and his brother’s photographs became an evolution in wearable art. The designs caught the notice of key fashion designers that featured them in a number of 2012-2013 collections. Designs and information can be seen on website www.11thloop.com.
Today, Benjamin is moving forward to create from an entirely different ecosystem: the islands of Hawaii. Again turning to nature for his inspiration, Benjamin spins new, lush hued images and dramatically rich textures of the tropical climate into his lavishly colored canvases.
Benjamin’s richly textured paintings are based in Cave Creek where he continues to show locally in downtown galleries. Through technology, he is able to stay in contact with his buyers. Contact him on his social media site of www.facebook.com/KoiFox, or to see a selection of the paintings, visit mrbenjaminkastelic.wordpress.com or send an email to mrbenjaminkastelic@gmail.com.