BY SHEILA KELLY VERTINO
He was that neighborhood kid who was always building ramps and obstacles for his skateboard, and adding functional, cool accessories—like emergency pumps and panniers—to his bike. “As soon as I was old enough to ride something with wheels on it, I was in the garage trying to enhance the experience of riding on it, even at the expense of aesthetic,” Christian Benefiel recalls. The leap from tinkerer to sculptor came in a defining moment when he was 12, and saw the Claes Oldenburg retrospective at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Benefiel says he knew that day what he wanted to do with his life.
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