My Story

Posted by ERIC LOPEZ on

My name is Eric Benjamin Lopez, from which I created EBENLO as a suitable artistic amalgam of my given name.  E-ric BEN-jamin LO-pez, see?  I was born on June 16th, 1976, and raised by a loving family, in the town of Rupert, Idaho.

From my beginning, I liked to draw.  But I wasn't exceptionally skilled at it, I've had to work hard to earn my skills.  When I was about 6 years old I carved a pumpkin with Garfield the Cat's face on it.  I loved Garfield and I was creating a masterpiece!  On the last cut of the piece, my hand slipped on the knife and it cut my right pinky finger tendon down to the bone.  I had to have stitches, and that finger has never been the same.

The point of that story is to simply illustrate that though my skills weren't always the best, at the age of 6, I had masterworks on my mind.  Still, today, when I make a painting, I always try to outdo myself reaching beyond my former works.  And as a side-note, my hand healed, and it works just fine.

By the age of about 13, I finally got serious about art and started working at it.  I would buy sketchbooks with any extra money I had.  I liked making my own comic books and I had a knack for making caricatures of my favorite musicians and admired stars.

I remember once getting some Christmas money from my mother to buy anything I wanted and I bought one of those beautiful 40-color Pentel marker packs and a fresh sketchbook, and the rest of the children in my family (there are 4 of us), they bought candy.  I remember thinking I was so smart.  Here I was, at such a young age, suffering for the cause of art; I would earn a skill!  And I eventually did indeed learn to draw, paint (with oils, acrylic, and egg tempera) sculpt, and illustrate.  This story DOES have a happy ending!

At about age 16, I met one of my closest friends and artistic mentor, Ted.  Ted was much more skilled than I was and he'd already painted with oil paints at a much younger age.  I truly admire his personality and talent, still, to this day, of course.  But back then, Ted was a god-send.  I think we both enjoyed the friendly art competition that we always had going on between us.  We would visit each other's homes, and if we weren't playing video games, we were drawing and honing our skills!

Ted got me started in going to art classes in high school, and there I met another mentor, Mrs. Karen Hansen who taught art for many years at Minico High School, of Rupert, Idaho, my alma mater.

By age 18 I'd earned some student government scholarships and attended University of Idaho as an Art Major.  There, I rushed in the greek system and was elected to join the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and became a member.  I loved being there at Idaho Alpha Chapter with all my new friends.  I did OK on my first year of college, earning a 3.2 or thereabouts.  But I was restless, I had it in my head that if I got accepted to the Art Center of Pasadena, I might also find a way to pay for it, and I would earn some kind of status that would take me anywhere in the art world.  I did get accepted; twice.  But I didn't find the way to pay for it, so I was at a loss of what to do next.  

I ended up finding a man near my hometown, an American Impressionist by the name of Robert C. Moore, who graduated from the Art Center of Pasadena with honors!  He took me in to being his apprentice, and it was a wonderful time of learning with him.  I shipped his paintings all over the world and worked on several of his under-paintings.

After about 6 months of working with Robert, I needed to find a new opportunity, it was winter and in that particular season, not much was selling; so I decided to join the U.S. Air Force, as a computer operator.  My first day in the Air Force was 3MAR1998.  I desired to learn as much as I could about computers, so that's exactly what happened.  While I was studying digital art in my down time, my friend Ted was studying at the Art Center of Pasadena; he would give me pointers and critique my work.

After the Air Force was over for me, (4 years), I joined my mother and family in southern California.  I got a job as a shipping clerk and continued studying digital art.  I created a catalog for the business I worked for, utilizing my illustration and Photoshop skills, and significantly boosting business in the process!

In 2004, I attended Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, CA as a business admin major.

Around the year 2008, I attended College of the Desert, of Palm Desert, CA as an accounting and finance major.

I was grooming myself to be a CEO.

Unfortunately, I had some medical issues coming against me, over the years it manifested in different ways.  I had caught an debilitating anxiety disorder; as well as other issues that I don't need to mention; suffice to say, I had issues.

After running out of military college money, I returned home.  I was jobless without a lot of prospects, and I knew I had this disorder that kept me from being able to live a normal work-life.  I had applied for military disability and been denied.

I chose to pack all my things and go live on Venice Beach for a while.  I went there and learned quickly, the ins and outs of living out of your car.  I met all sorts of people, made all kinds of friends.  I was poor, but I had a 12 string guitar, and knew a few songs that I would play to people on the street for some decent money.  Enough to get me back home again.  I lived on the streets for 2 months.  And it was everything I thought it could be!  I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

Some time after my return home, the military declared me disabled, and I have been living with my mother ever since.  We get along ok!  Things are much better now that I don't have to worry so much about finances.

In more ways than one, I've been truly blessed!

10 years have seemed to go by in a blink.

I recently got serious about my art again, and decided to work harder at it, to see if something could be made from all this art and music I've been creating over the years.

I hope you enjoy my work, and look forward to more of it!  As, I am looking forward to creating more.  :D

Thanks for reading my story!


Eric Benjamin Lopez

p.s. I have recently got into creating art NFTs.  Check out my art and music NFT gallery here! --->

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