Lina Benjumea is a Columbian architect and artist currently living in Hong Kong after spending the past 12 years in New York. A woman of many skills, she used to work in fashion merchandising and brand consulting and has moved into product design and fine art. Lina, like more and more creative people now, isn’t easily defined by titles. She calls herself a world traveler and perhaps it is best to say that Lina is a creator inspired by the world she sees.
She carefully hand crafts every brightly colored, pattern covered, wooden product she sells. Her work ranges from furniture and household goods to skull figures and, my personal favorite, cyclopean matryoshka dolls named The EYE Family. Most of the things she creates are recognizable as plates, stools, necklaces or whatever object it may be. Her totem-like structures, however, are more sculpture than kitchen ware. They look as though they were assembled through a playful problem solving process in search of the perfect combination.
Fresh ideas come to Lina from her frequent travels around South America and South Asia combined with her experience in the big cities of New York and Hong Kong. It’s great to see artists reinterpret ancient cultures in updated designs. Her work would never be mistaken for tourist trap products of the sort you find in airport gift stores, but they do bring to mind foreign countries where the sun shines all year round.
She said about her art, “I do it because it really relaxes me and keeps me centered, it’s like therapy. I am a color freak, after running for years from my roots I’ve gotten back to them with my work, which has brought me inner peace, just like meditation.” I can see how working with wood and painting such detailed patterns are peaceful activities, especially for someone whose day job and hobbies must be taxing. As a viewer though, rather than feeling more calm, I’m excited by Lina’s art and imagine having a piece on my desk would add extra vibrance to my room.
I admire Lina’s distinctive eye-catching and modern style. Her work is attention grabbing without being overwhelming. Her work makes me want to be bolder in my color choices when designing and plan more trips to tropical places.
You can view more in her Etsy shop Nuki by Titiribi. (The name of her store pays homage to Columbia. Nuki is a city on the coast and Titiribi is a city in the Andes.) She also keeps a personal blog and Pinterest.