1910 - 1974
Elton Bennett's lifelong dream always was to be an artist. He grew up in Hoquiam in the Grays Harbor region of the Washington Coast, where mill work, fishing and dredging are common occupations, and Bennett himself knew many years of firsthand experience at them. The pursuit of art was not encouraged by the people around him.
Elton Bennett started and stopped more than once in his plans to be an artist. For nearly 20 years, his only formal training in art consisted of a single year at Washington State University at Pullman in 1927 when he was 17 years old.
In 1946, Bennett married Flora Broadie who encouraged him to persist with his artistic goals when few other people did. And it was in that same year that Bennett entered the Portland Art Museum School on the G.I. bill.
But Bennett didn't enjoy the experience. He was considerably older than his fellow students, and his artistic style, which never followed the latest trends, was not appreciated. Discouraged with school and the art scene, he left after two years and returned to work in the trades. He was far from confident at this point that he could support himself and his family as an artist.
But in 1956, Bennett had saved enough money to be able to give up his other jobs, and devote himself exclusively to his art work. In less than three years, he was enjoying a satisfying career as a practicing artist, doing what he wanted most to do, and making a good living at it.
Elton Bennett chose silkscreen printing for his medium because it allowed so many possibilities for manipulating compositions. Bennett didn't like the idea of creating a work only one person might see, or that could not be changed once 'completed.' Bennett would always use a great number of screens and colors in infinite combinations so that each finished serigraph was a unique work of art.
Elton Bennett serigraphs depict the Pacific Northwest coastal environment and give glimpses of the working lives of the people the artist knew and worked with all his life. These works have steadily gained recognition over the years. The artist's tragic death in 1974 in an airplane crash has meant a substantiaal increase in their value as a solid investment.
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