Philadelphia based artist Ellen Benson is this week’s guest blogger for the Artist as Collector Series.
collection of Ellen Benson
I collect 2 main types of art: sculptural work made out of found objects, and “outsider” and folk art. I go to Mexico every winter and I call Oaxaca the art capital of the world, so it’s not been hard to indulge this collecting passion!

This piece is from Florida based artist Michael Russo which I fell for when I saw it in a small gallery he owned in Miami Beach on Espanola Way, probably in the late ’80’s. The simplicity wowed me.  He made something fabulous out of absolutely NOTHING–a box that held XMAS ornaments and some artfully crumbled up faces torn from magazines- stuff that would have been thrown out anyway, with no intrinsic value.

Quite different from ART BASEL Miami Beach where I saw hundreds of collectors flown in on private planes to write checks for Jeff Koons pieces for millions. 

Ellen Benson is a member of the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia, a group of artists which focuses on re-claiming cast-off pieces of the world around us to make art, as well as to make use of things headed for the trash stream. She is moving towards her goal of creating 1000 figures that she calls “divas”many of which she makes an armature for their “bodies” from those ubiquitous plastic grocery and newspaper delivery bags. To date she is up to about 400, many of which are currently on display at the Philadelphia International Airport.

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