Rod Benson is a native Californian who grew up in San Diego and Los Angeles. After four years playing College Basketball at UC Berkeley, he began a 12 year professional basketball career that would take him all over the world. At the same time, he built a career as a writer.
Upon retiring from his athletic career, he decided to go into a different direction; he began to explore his talents as a fine artist and quickly found his purpose. His first show was his reaction to a moment of police brutality in Las Vegas, which provoked him to turn his pain into art. Since then, his goal has been to show that brightness and color are integral parts of what it means to be a person of color – that dark doesn’t have to mean dangerous. In doing so, he began to create a style referred to as NEON BLACK, wherein he paints silhouettes of individuals, leaving just the hair unobstructed. The rest of the silhouette, however, becomes both foreground and background. Thus mixing roles and themes the artist aims to display the black experience from within and without. In doing so, he highlights how people of color are perceived vs their personal reality; illuminating the black experience via symbols that resonate with the artist personally, the subjects, or the culture as a whole.
Benson’s work has been shown in national and international galleries from Los Angeles to South Korea and has been featured in various magazines and newspapers. His pieces can also be seen in ABC’s “The Rookie,” on NBC’s “GRAND CREW,” and in the homes of various NBA players, celebrities, and collectors of black art.
A further explanation of the event that started that led to Rod’s first show: