Portrait Boxes
Suzanne Benton began creating  
innovative Portrait Boxes in 1996 after
leading a series of mask and story
workshops with women and youth in
Bosnia. Her first, titled Bosnian Boy
evolved from pencil sketches she did of
the refugee children riddled with the
effects of war and dislocation. Having
listened to the haunting stories of the
Bosnian people with whom she was
working, and from the cumulative
effects of all she's witnessed in 29
countries as a working artist. Bosnian
Boy and subsequent Portrait Boxes are
Suzanne's way of honoring the diversity
and uniqueness of  human life.
     Portrait Boxes portray 21st century
faces of diverse people who pose and
commission these works. Her process
begins with preliminary charcoal and
pastel drawing. She then draws and
paints the image on the square or
rectangle of an open and sometimes
closed paper box that she's formed from
gessoed archival paper. The ears, hair
and neck  wrap onto the sides of the
box, and its interior contains an inner
portrait. The finished works relate to
ancient frescoes, Asian cave paintings,
and the Egyptian sarcophagi of the
Roman period. Some are life size,
others larger. They can hang on a wall
or sit on a pedestal where the interior
can also be viewed.
Damien, front and back, mixed media, 11 x 11 x 5 1/2 inches
Bei Ling, mixed media, 8 ¼ x 7 x 3 1/2 in.
Martha, mixed media,
7 1/4 x 7 x 3 3/4 inches
El Rubio, mixed media,
7 x 6 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches
Jennifer , mixed media and wax
11 ½ x 11 ½ x 5 ½
Ireland Friends
suspended with wires
Annu, mixed media
9 ½ x 9 7/8 x 3 inches
Judith,  mixed media and wax
11 ½ x 11 ½ x 5 ½ inches
Zandi, front and back,  mixed media and wax,  11 ½ x11 ½ x 5 ½ inches
Bosnia Boy, paper and mixed media,
6 ½  x 5 ½ x 2 ¾ inches

First drawings
for Meridith Portrait Box
Suzanne is working on the
outside and showing the inside
of the Meredith Portrait Box  that
will be shaped into its box.form.