Local artist Dwight Bennett’s path to creating exquisite pieces of artistry in wood is as unique as the work he sculpts. As a fifth generation native to Arizona, Dwight, as a youth in the third grade, began carving tiny sculptures out of his crayons with his fingernails. By eighth grade, he completed his first table.
As a student at Arizona State University, playing football and studying to receive a degree in both Art and Technology, while later acquiring a Master’s Degree, he sold his early work around campus for extra income. “In those early days at ASU, both the prices and the pieces I created were small in scale and scope”, says Bennett.
A gifted athlete and talented artist, it appeared that his creative expression would be saved for later in life as he explored the world of professional athletics shortly after college. Dwight went on to play football for the Los Angeles Rams, an athletic career that was tragically cut short by a near life ending auto accident. Turning his attentions back to family and art, Dwight took a job as a high school art teacher and athletic coach. With this new endeavor he discovered more time to develop and pursue his art. As he puts it, “My adventure into the World of Art was undeniably ‘a road less traveled’.”
Provided a chance encounter with Don Pierson, the highly respected art dealer and owner of the El Prado Gallery in Sedona, Arizona, Dwight was given an opportunity to display his work and thusly, a promising career as an Artist began to take shape. Nearly forty years from these early beginnings Bennett’s career as an artist has elevated the field of turned wood vessels and sculpture from craft to fine art. Decades of perfecting his art have brought him respect, recognition and admiration from that of collector and peer. Only the finest pieces in a variety of woods such as; mesquite, olive, holly or Bennett’s personal favorite Arizona Ironwood are chosen for his breathtakingly elegant sculptures in wood and silver with platinum.
Dwight Bennett’s surfaces inspire a sense of wonderment and intrigue from his collectors. From his early works such as the heart-shaped sculpture entitled Life, which toured the United States and Europe as part of a Phoenix Art Museum collection, to that of his recent work, Bennett continues to enthrall his collectors.
“Since 1963, when I created my first table, I have worked using balance and form as my guide and focus. The subliminal female body form is the driving force behind my work. That faint but yet blasting sense of that form makes my work flow and come to life. That being said, inevitably it is the HOW of the artistic rendering which becomes the sculpture’s creative signature. That is what eventually attracts and cements the devotee’s interest in the finished product. The HOW is the most powerful and grabbing force for an artist to achieve. If we as artists can get the audience to wonder HOW, the rest of the Who, What, and Why will follow, keeping them looking forever.”