“In my painting, Love, I wanted to express how easy it is to change people’s personalities in a given situation. In the painting, the only person that is in focus is on a stage – hundreds of hands reaching toward the light like a moth to the flame, like they are insects and have no personality. That’s how we lose ourselves in. It’s about celebrity and worship. These could be the most talentless people on earth, but if they have money, people love that. People don’t know that they are losing themselves, their personalities. People go to shows because they want relief. I’m calling it “Love” because people are passionate, but they don’t know why. What’s alarming is that there’s nothing really there but a concept about what the person is supposed to be. Everyone has expectations for these celebrities and we don’t know who they actually are in real life. I imagine bugs going toward a bright light, not really knowing what it is, but the bugs think it’s amazing.” (Behnke J.)


John Behnke (b.1991) is a music and gaming fan, and his works have a strong connection to present-day technology and media forms. How technology and media subtly shape our understanding of each other and our ability to connect and process meaning is central to the work. Each work tells a complex story that combines a romantic attitude toward the natural world with dystopian visions of the near future: "How much can the earth give, until it's all gone?  We're growing, and numbers leave scars," (from Urban Tribe). He attends school at Wright College and works at his home studio in Oriole Park as well as Project Onward. Behnke joined the studio in 2011.

John Behnke
JB_Park Ridge

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Project Onward is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to promote art as a powerful tool for understanding and valuing the real and potential contributions of our national population with disabilities.

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