Artist Spotlight: Ben Felix
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in American Fork, Utah.
What is a favorite childhood memory you have?
One of my favorite childhood memories is going to BYU football games with my dad and brother.
What hobbies do you enjoy in your free time?
I have always loved baseball and have played in amateur adult baseball leagues for the past 10 years.
When did your love of art begin?
I have loved drawing as long as I can remember.
What or who are your biggest inspirations?
Traditional architecture is my biggest inspiration. To me, the craftsmanship and culture found in traditional architecture is what is truly beautiful and I try to convey that as closely as I can in my renderings.
How has your style evolved?
I learned how to oil paint during my freshman year at Utah Valley University and started oil painting temples for my sisters as Christmas gifts. This eventually became a hobby and led me to an interest in architecture. I went to the classical architecture program at the University of Notre Dame where I fell in love with the hand drafted, watercolor rendered architectural drawings we learned how to do there.
How has the Gospel of Jesus Christ influenced your work?
An aspect of the gospel that has influenced my work has been family history work and temple ordinances. I believe that by rendering traditional temples, churches, and tabernacles I am gaining an appreciation for and connecting to our ancestors who designed, crafted, and built these heirlooms. I feel like I am passing on the legacy they left for us when I do these renderings and by practicing traditional architecture in general. To me, this is so closely linked to the way that we are connected to our ancestors through sealings in the temple itself.
What are some of the messages you try to send and hope to portray in your work?
I hope to portray how much I love traditional architecture and I hope to instill that appreciation into others. There is a minor renaissance in the world right now inspired by classical architecture to make our built environment beautiful again and I’m proud to be a part of that movement and hope to bring it to other people’s attention.
What piece are you most proud of? Why?
This rendering of the side elevation of the Salt Lake Temple is the piece I’m most proud of. It is a culmination of a greater than usual investment of time and effort as well as the needed years of experience in my craft.
What is one goal you have for your work?
I am working on a book that will feature all the architectural drawings I have done of traditional temples, tabernacles, and church buildings. Many of the drawings are of buildings that sadly were torn down in the 60s and 70s and have been carefully constructed from historical photos. I hope to document the architectural character of our traditional buildings as a tool for fellow temple architects to use in their precedent studies and as a way for others to gain appreciation for the beauty of traditional architecture.
What message would you like to send to any aspiring artists?
Don’t think you can be your best on your own. Seek out any practical art training you can receive. You can only reach your full potential when you have a well of knowledge and skills to draw from.
I was an extra in a Book of Mormon Video! Which the filming of course was scheduled for right after my parents planned the family photoshoot.