The dramatic portraiture of local buildings and vistas by Benny Brimmer had immediately left their mark on me. A self-taught member of the Society of Arts and of Art Club 2000, Brimmer has the gift of using the interplay between light and shadow, to illustrate familiar landscapes, buildings, and panoramas around Malta and Gozo, while presenting them to the viewer in a totally new light. Pun intended.
A salesperson by profession, Brimmer lives in Qormi with his wife and son, goes to the gym, and loves gardening during weekends as a means of relaxation. His passion however, has always been painting. The 57-year old describes his art as Realism, a term which denotes artists who try to portray life realistically without any artificial or implausible elements. Nonetheless, when one looks at his paintings, one realises that the magical and the mysterious are actually naturally present all around us, and that the beauty and enchanting vistas of Malta and Gozo, as seen through the painter’s eyes, are more than enough to inspire awe. Brimmer in fact tells me that his love for his country and his appreciation of its magnificence is what drives him on, as his aim is to share these with those who look at his art.
Brimmer’s artwork however, is not just limited to landscaping, since he also enjoys painting the human figure, as well as typical streets, buildings, and even still-life.
Were you always interested in art as a way of expressing yourself?
Yes, my interest had started from childhood. Pencil drawing was my main medium. My father always encouraged me, but I started to paint seriously in 1997. I started first by focusing on pencil drawing, then later on, in 2000, I began painting in oil on canvas.
In your paintings, you seem to give a lot of importance to the chiaroscuro element. Why this particular technique?
Chiaroscuro is the way I predominantly see the world. It’s a feeling with which I’ve always been obsessed and enchanted by, and not just as a technique to use for painting. It was my father, Joe, who first taught me to appreciate the beauty of light and the contrast it creates. He showed me the way to observe the details such illumination revealed, and taught me how to give life to my childhood drawings using this atmosphere.
What is your creative methodology?
Although my main medium is oil on canvas, I love drawing with pencils as well. When I decide on a scene or a subject I want to portray, I generally take photos and do a bit of sketching to start with. When it comes to applying oil, that’s another story. I usually do that freehand.
Where do you see yourself and your art in the future?
I’ve participated in a number of collective exhibitions and events with other artists, including an exhibition during Notte Bianca in 2016. My main target and wish now is to present a solo exhibition. Hopefully, this will take place in the near future.