Christian Benavides: Voyager of Time and Space, Creator of Visual Realities
Art is alive and in constant evolution — just like the hands that create them. This is the belief and philosophy of Colombian illustrator Christian Benevides, who goes by the alias “Voyager Spirit.” He’s a voyager, he says, because he’s a “traveler of time and space.” To him, exploration is something both the physical body and the intangible spirit are capable of. Knowledge is a great source for this; experience is better.
For Benavides, creation is a “conscious” process. The artist pours his heart, soul, and intention in a piece — and that’s how it’s given life and spirit. His artistic philosophy is beautifully evident in his illustrative works of art, which is laced with his love for mythology and fantasy.
‘Nippon Eden’, his exclusive Consecrea piece, is a testament to this. “[It’s] a reinterpretation of the Garden of Eden, viewed from a Shinto perspective,” he told us. “I like [that] the Shinto tradition has different rituals connected to nature. [They] have this mystical, magical aura, which is just so inspiring to me.”
Get Nippon Eden’ as framed wall art here.
[Note: The interview below contains minor edits for clarity and brevity.]
Tell us about yourself. How did art come into your life?
I’m a digital Illustrator from Medellín, Colombia. During my childhood, I was constantly recreating characters of my favorite animation series, video games, and comics; having fun with it and nothing pretentious. Then it all changed when I met my older half-brother. I was around 10 years old. He was studying graphic design in his early 20s, and he carried lots of illustrations with him.
From that moment, I just fell in love with them. I was trying to copy his artworks, but [later on] I got inspired enough to move forward and create my own stories, my own worlds, and seek my own constant explorations and improvement.
What does the creation process look like for you? How do you feel while you’re creating a piece, and after a piece is complete?
I experience the creation process as a complete journey and a conscious process of manifestation. I even see it as a way to apply the power of having an element in the ethereal dimension of ideas by turning it into matter: we [give] it shape, form, and life in this plane.
To me, an artist who creates a piece can channel whatever he intends to and give [his art] its own interpretation with its own sensibility. I think art proves that we are creators of realities — we can create art and so we can create life, individually and collectively.
So I try to give each image an intention and a purpose. I like to visualize the five elements [of nature] in this process: air as the idea, fire as the energy, water as the emotions and the subconscious mind, earth as the materialization of the piece, and ether as the individual soul and energy that the piece gains once it’s finalized.
You always call yourself a “voyager” and even use it as a part of your artistic identity. Can you tell us about this? What are you exploring?
Yes! I create images under the name “voyager,” which to me means traveler of time and space. The art I create represents this internal and external journey. I see life as an exploration with no end. We are infinite, and so is our potential — that makes the journey eternal and infinite too. But in this body and earth, we are finite, so [I see it as] a journey I want to enjoy.
I want to learn the most I can from all the multiplicity of this planet and the diversity in the human beings. I see travel as a way to connect information, but more importantly, experiences that will be engraved in my soul. These experiences and teachings from people, cultures, and travels are what I try to implement in my artworks.
[For me, it’s about] using the external world to evolve our interior, and as artists our art will evolve too — and there’s not an end to it. Our body is not immortal, but our energy and spirit are. The way I see it, we change from body to body, from planet to planet, from universe to universe; constantly evolving, learning, experiencing. That's why I instantly connected with the word “voyager.”
Your landscapes often have a very mystical and surreal feel to them. Where do you usually get the inspiration for them?
I really enjoy mystical, spiritual, and philosophical topics and experiences, so I do a lot of research. But to me, the most important aspect is experience. When we experience something, it becomes wisdom — we apply it and put it into practice. Not only will our mind know it, but our whole body and spirit will, too. When it’s just information, it lacks the capacity to be manifested.
These mystical and surreal inspirations come mainly from my experiences. I enjoy travelling to places where I feel a connection with. [I also like to] to learn a new culture, a new way of thinking, and a new way of relating with life.
I like to visit ancient temples and structures with artistic representation of that specific culture, or a cosmovision from an ethnic or indigenous community. Natural areas are a deep and strong source of inspiration. [I go there] to hike, camp, experience the place, and observe it attentively. This is the “research” I do for my spiritual growth — and this is what I integrate in my artworks.
Your art is heavily influenced by themes of nature and Eastern culture. How do these themes work together with your overall artistic philosophy?
I have a strong affinity to Eastern interpretation [and] traditional paintings, like the Tibetan thangka or the Japanese Ukiyo-e. The way artists give life to a way of creating clouds, mountains, forests, combined with their own visions of life and spirituality — it just gets me. I have enjoyed learning from Eastern artistic styles and discovering the meaning behind the symbols and elements integrated in their compositions.
I also like to use runes, Reiki symbols, tarot archetypes, and reinterpret them in my work. I believe art has the capacity to communicate spiritual/mystical aspects by the use of these tools.
You once said that your work is “a visual aid for self-enlightenment” and “a reminder to find the basic element of the human heart, the spirit, and the divine spark.” Can you tell us more about this? How does art help you remain in touch with your spirituality?
I believe our spirituality is our natural essence. We all come from the source, but what's different is how we manifest that spiritual origin in these human bodies and in this earthly experience. As I’ve mentioned before, I see experience as something more important than knowledge and information. If we can work our mind and our physical body and create a really nice avatar where our spirit can manifest, that's enlightenment to me — [it’s the] integration of the spirit in our biology. That way, we can heal ourselves, manifest [our] dreams, and transform and create a reality with a consciousness and connection to the earth, which our living being is evolving to. I see that as the evolution and the journey we are doing here.
So to me, art is one of the ways and tools we can use to modify our limitations, ancient beliefs, fears, and structures that make us unconsciously create a reality that reflects our darkness. When I do an illustration, I’m attentive and conscious of what I want to do. I place an intention and purpose to the practice of creating the artwork: I choose the colors, the characters’ poses, and the symbols. I observe references and try something new.
Some things can be difficult to draw as they are out of my comfort zone, but I keep trying until there’s at least a good complement to the composition. In the end, I'm creating something consciously, totally present. That's the equivalent of what I want to do with my life — create it and co-create it consciously with the collective.
Follow Christian Benavides on Instagram here.