Miranda Elizabeth Benzies
14/02/1982 - 05/01/2015
Miranda was born in London in 1982 and raised in rural Devon. She studied fine art foundation at Exeter Art College before going on to a degree in History at Bristol University. Continuing her art education she studied under practising artists Ian Rowlands RA and Nick Bashall in London, focusing on the methods and materials of drawing and oil painting. She married Matt in 2013, living together in Hornsey, North London. Miranda divided her time painting at her Tottenham studio and working freelance as photo retoucher.
Miranda’s passion for painting was evident from childhood. Her early paintings often focused on social situations, using darkness and light to produce a number of bold large-scale pieces. These remain as a testament to her adventurous, challenging and confident outlook, providing an insight into her unique take on life.
After moving to London in 2006 she painted wherever she had space to, initially a small 4th floor bedroom off Holloway road. Her work at this time was painstakingly created during months of self-teaching and experimentation, often focusing on beautiful snippets of south Devon’s coastline and buildings. At this stage her painting was secondary to survival in London. The direction of her career being uncertain she devoted much of her time to Photoshop, learning useful skills in colour manipulation, light and perspective.
As her skill and speed in photo-retouching improved, she found better paid work, allowing her to dedicate more time to painting. By 2011 she was committed to a career painting in traditional oils. This shift in focus coincided with her move to Euro-Art studios in Tottenham, transforming her working environment from the living room to a spacious and well-lit studio. She quickly contributed to the artistic community by organising social events and peer reviews, giving and gaining confidence and broadening her influences.
Miranda produced the London Face series of paintings based of the concept that people are subconsciously influenced by their surroundings, which in the case of the city is largely an artificial environment. Influenced by one of her favourite painters, Archimboldo, she created a series painting faces constructed from London architecture including the 'London Face'. In 'Waterloo bridge' the application of this idea is more abstract, encouraging us to see human-like faces in the buildings and bridges of the city. She was fascinated by other people's lives and the mundane. Pieces such as the Lindt Egg, 2013 and 'Heavens above' highlight our interaction with each other and the environment.
After the storms of 2013 Miranda experimented with a new style, becoming increasingly fluid and imaginative, she enjoyed the freedom and increased the intensity of her work. She worked outdoors as much as she was able, sketching and painting in watercolours, studying the shapes of bridges and buildings with an inventive eye. Her increasing skill using light, her love of the sky, sea and stone are depicted in her Nature Returns series.
Miranda’s unexpected death in January 2015 was an immense shock and tragedy to her family and friends. Miranda lived more in her 32 years than most achieve in their entire lives. One of her finest attributes was her lack of prejudice and her kindness and openness to others whatever their circumstance. Combined with her exciting and energetic personality she engaged people and made friends wherever she went. She lived life though eyes that never grew old, saw beauty and wonder where others walked by and brought love, joy and energy into our lives.
She lives on though her artwork and in the hearts of those who knew and loved her.
© Miranda Benzies
Miranda at her Studio in Tottenham, North London
With her Lindt egg, displayed in Covent garden, March 2013
Miranda's Family and friends at her funeral, Start Point, Devon, March 2015