An Interview with Marcus Benavides of Red Light Press

Red Light Press is Marcus Benavides’ Fine Art Printing Press that specializes in limited edition woodcuts, lithographs and other prints on paper.  This will be Marcus’ first year participating in our Art Star Craft Bazaar, so we were interested in learning more about him. Visit his booth #50 at our upcoming bazaar or check out his website

Art Star: What will you be selling at the bazaar?
Marcus Benavides: I’ll be selling Woodcut and Lithographic prints.

AS. Describe your process
MB: I carve tiny marks into wood, roll those carvings up with oil based inks, and reproduce the images on paper. I also draw images on Bavarian Lithographic Limestones, chemically alter the stones with acids and solutions, roll the image up with ink, and print the image on paper.  Both of these methods are printed with the help of Lula, a 100 year old, cast-iron, hand-cranked printing press.

AS: Are you professionally trained?
MB:  I received a BFA, MA, and an MFA in printmaking. I’ve been making prints for 10 years and I’ve been making art as far back as I can remember. Years of honing my craft, sharpening pencils, and grinding down stones can only stem from a love of hard work and printing beautiful images.

AS: Are you able to make your work full time?  If not, what is your day job?
MB: Sadly, I am not. I work at a commercial print-shop here in Philly.

AS: Where would you like to see your craft business in 10 years?
Owning a printing press allows me to make multiples of not only my own work, but collaborations with fellow artists. I would like to see Red Light Press’s expanding portfolio include more collaborative prints. I want to provide an artistic outlet for the ideas of like-minded individuals. Today, this is achievable with local artists; however, in the future I hope to build a fund for visiting, nationally-recognized artists.

AS: Any exciting projects in the works?
MB: I am currently in conversations with two local artists about printing collaborative prints.  That, and I’m working on a new piece entitled “Surf Mothers Must Die!”

AS: What is your favorite thing about Philadelphia?
MB: Dim Sum Garden’s soup dumplings.

 AS: What are some of the inspirations for your work?
MB: I’m inspired most by the things that scare us as civilized beings; Indecency, the Grotesque, the Occult, Rebellious Behavior, Moralizing Folklore, and the Sleaze and Grime of back-alley cultures. I’m also influenced by the pop culture and cartoons of my childhood.

AS: What are you reading / listening to?
I listen to a lot of early Blues and Rock & Roll music. Mostly stuff from the 30’s to 50’s. But my taste runs the gamut of music genres.

AS: Anything fun readers might be interested in knowing about you or your business?
MB: I grew up in South Texas.  I have a rifle-scope scar on my left brow.  That, and I have a collection of voodoo and Mexican witchcraft paraphernalia.

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