Made in the Brazos Valley: Benjamin Knox recreates the “38-41” Aggie upset in collage-style painting

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 12:33 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Benjamin Knox, a Bryan-College Station artist whose pieces are now displayed around the world, says he wants to paint works that are “inspiring.”

“Something that really grabs people’s heartstrings, and really has an emotional sense to it,” said Knox.

Knox found that emotion, inspiration, and much more as he shot photos on the Kyle Field sideline of the Texas A&M Aggies’ upset over the Alabama Crimson Tide. By the time the game clock hit zero, he knew he wanted to paint this scene.

Step two in his process is to sift through his research (his game photos and video).

“I come up with the concept,” said Knox. “I’m thinking of the best way to portray this.”

Knox puts together concept sketches at this stage.

“For the Alabama game, the main subject matter, the center of the piece, is actually everybody jumping off [the stands], running onto the field,” Knox said. “The excitement, that’s the focal point. So all the key moments in the scene rotate around that to keep your eye focused in and pull you in further and further.”

Knox even meets with key people to make his piece personal.

“With the Alabama game, I would meet with, say, the parents of the players or different people and get their input and of course their excitement, and that would then transcend into more enthusiasm in the painting,” said Knox. “The feeling comes through.”

Then Knox tones the canvas and puts in the time.

“When people ask me how long it takes to do a painting, well it’s my whole life–and 100 hours,” said Knox. This is where his training and experience kick in.

“The first thing I do is accurate drawing,” Knox said. “I want to make sure my anatomy and everything is correct. I do the drawing and the placement for the composition on the canvas itself. And then from there, I go in and add usually the dark backgrounds, because the darks hold the light, and then I paint on top of that, the massing in, the blocks of color.”

As Knox paints, his photos become artwork, and the Aggies’ triumph becomes a showpiece.

“It’s fun when everything really starts to come together and it starts to–I like to say ‘sing.’ The painting starts to sing,” said Knox. “That’s often when I’m finished–is whenever what’s up here is on the page itself or canvas itself.”

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