Art For Art's Sake: An Ordinary Man's Own Collection
Getting To Know Our Neighbors:
Nat's Creativity Seen All Around His Residence
A grown man who spends his time doing what he likes the most finds artistic freedom and happiness in the end. A self-taught artist, Nat Benavides is one of these down-to-earth people that anybody would like to have as a neighbor. There is no dull moment for him. His creativity leads to the production of various art works that he displays at his residence in Selma, CA. Among his friends and relatives, he is known as "Tivo." From his son, Erik to his niece, Perla, everyone who comes in contact with him will agree that Tivo's artistic talent and attitude are what's keeping him going in good and bad times. For example, when his beloved wife, Juanita, got into a car accident on her way to work, the couple ended up losing everything during the recovery. That's how they got relocated to their current Selma residence. Juanita is barely able to walk now. Suffering from cataract which makes him nearly blind, Tivo himself is going to have a surgery soon according to Erik.
In the midst of all the ups and downs of life, Tivo's art has never been better. Yet, very few people other than his family members and close relatives know about his artistic gift. The fact that he does not get commissioned work and make sales doesn't keep him from dedicating his precious time to his work. All he has been doing is to keep painting, sculpting and creating new art works, trinkets and trellis. Everyone who knows Nat knows that he is a jack of all trades. He has enough art pieces to supply any tourist spot or souvenir store. He is only a phone call away. Now with his son's e-mail address, he can be reached via e-mail.
Ever since he was a young boy, he knew what he wanted to do. He dreamed about attending art school on a scholarship and becoming an artist. He entered one of his paintings into a competition which he won. That was not enough. Since he was only 16 years old, his father had to give him permission to attend the art school. "The needs of the family appeared to come first," said his son. Tivo's parents, Natividad B. Rodriguez and Catalina L. Hernandez, were hard-working migrant workers who traveled between Arizona, Mexico, Texas and California.
When Perla showed me the pictures of this giant papier mache gorilla sitting in his yard, I could not pass up the chance of taking one of my sons to check it out. What we found was a trove of treasures scattered all around his residence. Tivo defines what it takes to beautify one's property. From his front porch, you can see the birds, ducks, cat, crocodiles, vine-covered thorn-crowned head of Jesus-Christ sculpture he designed over the years. Tivo is a curious man whose thirst for knowledge takes him to local libraries where he does his research. He speaks some French, works on cars, has a newly obtained certificate in cabling/Networking systems. He is currently working on a lion. "It's going to be huge," he said. "You need to come back to see it." He also has an AS degree.
Our hope is that a larger audience will get exposed to his works which they'll appreciate enough to place an order. He can fill this empty corner of your front and back yard with great art. Your porch does not have to be so bare. From his old barn, he can create owl boxes, plant holders and flower pots. It's worth noting that he has a extensive knowledge of the virtues of plants and leaves. He is the repository of knowledge passed down from his grandparents and ancestors. "Whenever I get sick, my dad tells me what to take," said Erik as he reminisced over the fond memories of the large Cessna that his father built for him when he was a child. "I could even sit in it. It was so huge." Tivo works with watercolor, oil, acryclic, charcoal, and draws portraits too.
If you would like to purchase any of Tivo's art works, e-mail Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get ready to appreciate them. Enjoy Tivo's creations.
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Updated: Friday, 3 December 2004 7:19 AM