P A R K E R a n d P A R K E R A R T
Born in New York in 1943, Elizabeth Bennett started painting when she was only five years old, after receiving her first set of oil paints from her parents for Christmas. About the same time, she started helping her father in his law office. And although he wanted her to follow in his footsteps and become a trial lawyer, she knew in her heart that she was destined to be an artist.
Bennett continued to draw and paint during her free time, and during her high school years took Saturday afternoon design courses at a school near her home. When she was 15, she was fortunate to meet Chuck Natoli, the fashion illustrator for Saks Fifth Avenue, who became her mentor. Bennett shared her work with Natoli each week and learned from him the importance of studying anatomy and life drawing.
When she graduated from high school in l961, Bennett enrolled in a summer course at Parsons School of Design in New York and accepted a position as a trainee in the fashion advertising department at JCPenny. She also continued to take life drawing classes at night and on the weekends.
In l973, she decided to take a trip to Chicago to see if she could get her work published in Playboy magazine. She had been reading her fatherps issues of the publication since she was a child and used the photos as models to practice her own illustrations. Playboy recognized her talent and published her work in the January 1974 issue. Since then, her work has appeared in several issues of Playboy and has been published in numerous other magazines.
Bennett's first exhibition was in l981 in Niagara County Community College and was comprised largely of pen and ink portraits she completed for The New York Times.
In l982, she traveled to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taiwan to work with her sister, Jacalyn, who had established her own design firm. She and her sister lived and worked in Hong Kong until l986, when they returned to the States to grow their separate businesses.
Today, Bennett has a home and studio on the East Coast where she continues to draw and paint for both her clients and for herself. In commenting on her work, she said, "I want my drawings to mean something, not because of new media or subject matter, but because of the knowledgeable understanding behind the lines in the drawing. Most important, I want my drawings to mean something to me."