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Gallery owner does more than just exhibit art

Published: Monday, July 8, 2013

Updated: Monday, July 8, 2013 23:07

Sarah Hoffschwelle

Benjamin Knox, class of ‘90, works on a Brazos Valley landscape painting commissioned by Scott & White Healthcare.

Though Benjamin Knox began his career in the humble confines of his dorm room, the painter and photographer is now the owner and operator of the Benjamin Knox Gallery and Wine Depot, a redesigned train depot on University Drive modeled after the original train station that gave the city of College Station its name.

“The gallery is a tribute to the old station that was destroyed in ’66,” Knox said. “It’s an important part of the history of College Station and I wanted to bring
it back.”

Although the gallery officially opened in 2001, Knox began his career as a painter and “gallery” operator out of financial necessity in 1988 as a sophomore in the Corps
of Cadets.

“I was completely broke and trying to figure out a way to make some money,” Knox said. “I started just doing pieces for my outfit and then expanded to other outfits and then just kept growing. People started commissioning me for works and my dorm room became
a gallery.”

Since its creation, the gallery and artwork have expanded. He has studied under some of the best artists in the nation. Although many of his pieces feature the spirit and traditions of Aggieland, Knox also paints for other universities as well as landscapes and western art that focuses on nature.

Brittni Markwardt, manager of the gallery and class of 2011, discussed the evolution of his artwork, saying “he’s trying to expand a little from just A&M pieces, adding more landscape and figurative pieces to his repertoire.”

Knox has kept himself busy with many different projects recently, including a piece featuring Johnny Manziel during the last season’s Alabama game. He was also recently commissioned to do paintings for both the new residence hall and Scott and White Healthcare. The later painting will depict the Brazos Valley.

“This landscape for Scott and White of the Brazos Valley River will be unveiled on Thursday,” Knox said. “I know what’s going on with the colors, but I’m not copying it. I’m trying to capture the emotion, the expression, the spirit of my subject in an abstract way.”

Knox offered advice for students, which focused on both their time at A&M and their future.

“First of all, find what you love to do and pursue that path,” he said. “Secondly, do something that benefits others. The more that you give of yourself to other people, the more it comes back to you. That’s a big factor that I’ve put into my own mission statement. The third thing is work hard. We’re not entitled to anything. Fourthly, set goals for what you want to accomplish and achieve those goals. Apply yourself. The fifth thing is to constantly learn and love what you do.”

Mary Beth Schaefer, a graduate student in science and technology journalism, said Knox’s gallery and wine depot had a little more depth to it than just a typical bar.

“[Knox] is always wandering around, happy to talk about his interest in wine and art and how he got started,” she said. “It’s just a welcoming atmosphere and a nice place to hang out.” 

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