Born in 1973 in Zurich, Vanessa Benz started her career as a lawyer in the financial industry, but after the birth of her daughter, she was looking for other fields to find professional fulfilment. Benz now works as a certified life and motivational coach and runs an online coaching platform supporting mothers. Benz lives with her husband, daughter and two dogs close to Rapperswil. Benz's uses all the spare time to paint as much as possible. Elephant Parade had the pleasure of meeting with Benz at the opening of the 2020 Swiss Tour and was able to discover the magic behind this beautiful new elephant. 


How did you find painting your first life-size baby elephant statue?

Painting Rosie was one big adventure for me! Because normally, I don't do contract work and I only work on canvas. But with Rosie, this was all different!
The finished elephant, that huge sculpture, had to look exactly the same as the handed in (and approved!) draft on paper. So that was definitely a huge challenge for me (you only have one shot!), as I didn't want to disappoint my initiator, i.e. the mayor of Rapperswil. I only had very little time before Christmas to finish the work, so I was basically working day and night in a cold garage functioning as an atelier, but it was great fun and a lifetime experience!


What does Rosie convey?

My colour scheme and the whole idea behind Rosie are based on the emblem of the City of Rapperswil, Rosie's sponsor (s. attachment). As I wanted a bright and "happy "elephant, the red was a given as the base colour. And as Rapperswil is called "the city of roses "- well, the roses were the logical consequence in my artistic view. 

How would you describe your artistic style?

As the daughter of a gallery owner, I came across art and various artists at a very early stage in my life, what probably influenced me ever since.
I would describe my artistic style as modern with a naive, colourful touch. I am very thoughtful about choosing the colour scheme, which is usually my starting point for any piece of art. However, I let myself surprise about the outcome - I never have a clear view in advance of the finished product. I definitely go with the flow and let my intuition guide me and the brush.


What role does an artist have in society?

In my view, the role of an artist hasn't much changed over the past couple of centuries. Its purpose is to entertain, to unite, to inspire, to initiate and to demonstrate.

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