Benjamin Wu was born in a small village outside of Guangzhou, China in
1961 to a hard working family of very modest means. His father
envisioned for his children something beyond the every day life in rural
China. He wanted his son to go to the university and study science.
Benjamin had different thoughts, however, knowing at a young age that he
wanted to be an artist.
At age 16, he passed a tough exam that gained him admission to the
Guangzhou Fine Art Institute. He was 1 among 13 people selected for the
oil painting class. He spent seven years at the institute from 1978 to
1985, with his final year as a teacher. He accredits a strict regimen
at the beginning, forming the basis for his success in painting.
Composition was strongly stressed, with elements such as color and light
In 1986, Benjamin managed to make the cut into another prestigious art
school, which brought him to America. Settling in San Francisco, he
tackled English classes on the side in addition to the curriculum at the
Academy of Art College, earning a Masters of Fine Art degree in 1991.
Since then he has been working in commercial art, illustration and fine
The figure and still life are strong themes in his painting. Traveling
back to China often, his paintings often depict rural villages and a
life that is slowly disappearing. He has been captivated with the
western history of America, painting the cowboys on a cattle ranch that
a friend owns in central California. Benjamin is after the dramatic –
the poetic- and he attempts to bring it to life at his easel, whether he
is painting figures, landscapes or still life arrangements. He reaches
into his past formal training, and then reaches into himself to find the
emotion, the details and the elements of storytelling before the art
expression truly becomes his own.
Benjamin Wu’s exquisite paintings have won awards in exhibitions and
competitions. In 2006, he received the Merit Award for portrait and
Figurative at the Asian Art Exhibition in Tokyo. In 2007, he received
another Merit Award for still life at the Salon International 2007 San
Antonio, Texas. Benjamin Wu also has three paintings selected as
finalists in the International ARC Salon. He is a member of Oil
Painters of America