Early this year, BOYSEN launched Color Trend 2015, introducing four color personalities—Naturist, Kinetic, Avant-Garde and Perfectionist. Each color theme, consisting of six colors, is curated by BOYSEN, based on the results of an annual color foreasting workshop in collaboration with NOVA Paint Club, an orgnization of global paint companies. Artist Benji Reyes embodies the Naturist theme.
Artist Benji Reyes started making furniture, or functional sculptures as he calls them, at age 21. When asked how he got into it, he answered, "Dahil sa pangangailangan (Because of dire need)." The road has not been smooth but Benji says that he felt "guided" with his choices, especially his decision in college to switch from Architecture to Fine Arts. It is his exposure to both disciplines that provides the harmonious marriage of function and form in his works.
Benji enjoys recognition not only in thr Philippines but his pieces are also very much in demand abroad. From design inspiration, conception, to execution, Benji does it all with the help of nine highly-trained craftsmen, whom he considers family. Clients wait for as long as it takes for him to finish a commission. Target delivery dates are not something clients, or even he, can dictate because he has to wait for the right kind of reclaimed wood for each and every project.
Today he is known as the main proponent in the Philippines for educating people on the value and use of reclaimed wood. After 35 years in the business, he estimate that he has helped save more than a million trees.
Benji is the epitome of a compassionate treehugger. He does not only love and respect wood, he knows them. He is the expert on Philippine hardwood having learned the characteristics and strengths of the different species after working with them for more than three decades.
"No two woods are the same. So unlike other materials, there is no room for thinking that the artists is superior to the material because he can control it. With wood, you are called on to collaborate with it. Where will this grain of wood bring you? How will you combine the different species? As an artist, you are tasked with helping nature bring out the woods' natural beauty," Benji related, "and that's what I love."
It is not surprising that someone who works with wood, and reveres nature, also loves to spend time outdoors. His outdoor activities have taken him around the country, Asia and Australia.
Engraved on Benji's sport ID bracelet re the following words, "Tell my 3 girls I love them." His wife Carina and two daughters, Eena and Keesha, are his blessings, his joy, his raison d'être. Many of his decisions in life have been made because of them. The four of them have expanded the family to include the people who work for them, and their own families. They stay in the same Antipolo property, which Benji calls home.