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About Benjamin

Baltimore City

Benjamin Jancewicz's picture
I create art using new techniques for an age-old purpose: to tell stories and inspire action. As a child, I was inspired by cartoons; drawn characters and stories brought to life with no visible brush strokes or shading. My fascination for that aesthetic met its match in my discovery of vector art. After producing photography, sketch and graphic design work years, the vector technique brought me full creative fulfillment for the first time. Now I use the painstaking process to create pieces that... more

Portraits

These are portraits that I've done that are not part of a particular series.

  • Tariq Toure

    Author and poet Tariq Toure has been a friend of mine since we marched together in the now-disbanded 300 Men March. Most of the time, we were on alert, patrolling neighborhoods, but there were often long walks between them as well, where many of us would socialize. Tariq lived pretty close to me at the time, so we would ride together to and from marches, and would spend hours just talking. As the uprising expanded in Baltimore, we would often find ourselves at protests together, fighting for justice for Tyrone West, Freddie Gray, Timothy Caughman, and many others.
  • Abdu Ali

    This portrait of Baltimore musician Abdu Ali was done for an article for the Baltimore City Paper that was never published. I loved the drawing so much that I decided to finish it on my own.
  • Michael Fred Phelps II

    Michael Fred Phelps II is an American retired competitive swimmer and the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (23), Olympic gold medals in individual events (13), and Olympic medals in individual events (16). When he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps broke fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of seven first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games.
  • Johnny Unitas

    John Constantine Unitas, nicknamed “Johnny U” and “The Golden Arm”, was an American football player in the National Football League (NFL). He spent the majority of his career playing for the Baltimore Colts. He was a record-setting quarterback, and the NFL’s most valuable player in 1959, 1964, and 1967. For 52 years he held the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (set between 1956 and 1960), until broken in 2012 by Drew Brees. Unitas was the prototype of the modern era marquee quarterback, with a strong passing game, media fanfare, and widespread popularity.
  • Brooks Robinson

    Brooks Calbert Robinson Jr. is an American former professional baseball player. He played his entire 23-year major league career for the Baltimore Orioles (1955–1977), which still stands as the record for the longest career spent with a single team in major league history. He batted and threw right-handed, though he was a natural left-hander. Nicknamed “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” or “Mr. Hoover”, he is considered one of the greatest defensive third basemen in major league history.
  • Cal Ripken Jr

    Calvin Edwin Ripken Jr, nicknamed “The Iron Man”, is an American former baseball shortstop and third baseman who played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles (1981–2001). One of his position’s most offensively productive players, Ripken compiled 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and 1,695 runs batted in during his career, and he won two Gold Glove Awards for his defense. He was a 19-time All-Star and was twice named American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP).
  • Ray Lewis

    Raymond Anthony Lewis Jr. is a former American football linebacker who played all of his 17-year professional career for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He previously played college football for the University of Miami, and earned All-America honours. Lewis was drafted by the Ravens in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft, and upon his retirement following the 2012 season, was the last remaining active player from the team’s inaugural season. Lewis played middle linebacker his entire career, and is considered to be one of the greatest ever to play the position.
  • Edgar Allen Poe

    Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and of American literature as a whole, and he was one of the country’s earliest practitioners of the short story. He is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.
  • Terrell Suggs

    Terrell Raymonn Suggs, nicknamed “T-Sizzle,” is an American football outside linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Arizona State, and was recognized as a unanimous All-American. The Ravens selected him with the tenth overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, and he is the team’s all-time leader in sacks. Suggs is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, a two-time All-Pro, was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, and was part of the Ravens team that won Super Bowl XLVII.

Who Said What Art Show

My current show, Who Said What, is a collection that combines my love for engaging people in the creation of my art as well as my desire to reimagine quotes that move people to live better lives. The creation process begins with a call for quotes to be submitted. I then do careful research and select a unique photograph of the quote’s author, typically in their youth, imagining them as my peer. Using the reference image, I draw the piece itself inspired by 1950s and 60s screen printing, interior design and album covers. Each piece has a unique color palette and font from an up-and-coming typographer.

This series has grown as people become inspired by it and add to it, but it has also spawned inspiration for new collections. As I grow as an artist, I hope that people continue to draw the same level of enjoyment from engaging with my work as I do from creating it.

  • Leonard Norman Cohen

    Leonard Norman Cohen
    "Ring the Bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in." The quote comes from a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Norman Cohen called "Anthem" which was on his 9th studio album, The Future. While researching the quote, many sources say the line, "There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in," came from a story in a Jack Kornfield book on Buddhism titled A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life.
  • Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

    Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
    "It always seems impossible until it is done." Created on Day Twenty of the Design Across America Zerflin tour. Quote submitted by Lauren Lofton. Font by Ryoichi Tsunekawa of http://dharmatype.com/. The quote is attributed as being Mandela's from many sources, though there are people on Wikiquote researching and tracking it down to its original origins. Publications no earlier than 2007 seem to contain the quote. Mandela has been an inspiration to me as a leader and as someone who has committed their entire life to racial equality.
  • Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou
    “Right may not be expedient. It may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul.” Said by Maya Angelou when talking about her mother and a painting by Phoebe called Sister Souki’s Funeral. The quote is taken from the TV show Oprah Presents Master Class, and on January 16, 2011, Maya Angelou was on episode 3.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    "We must accept finite disappointment but we must never lose infinite hope." The quote comes from one of the at least 8 books that Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his lifetime called "Strength to Love", published in 1963. The book used material from his sermons, and focused on scriptural teaching and dealing with the problems of racism.
  • Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey Douglass

    Done 1 year after the original Who Said What Art Show began, this piece is part of a quartet in which a new style of illustration was explored, making use of a more intricate background. Frederick Douglass originally wrote this quote as part of an essay called "Reconstruction", which he originally wrote in December of 1866. The quote rings true to today.
  • Margaret Mead

    Margaret Mead
    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” There's no known primary source for this powerful quote, but it’s important to note it has never been attributed to anyone else. The Yale Book of Quotations says "Attributed in the Christian Science Monitor, 1 June 1989." I haven’t been able to track down this publication, so whether to not she said it in passing is difficult to say.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

    Eleanor Roosevelt
    Done during the Ayinde Factory Quotables theme, submitted by @aleighdub24 Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was an American politician. She was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from March 1933 to April 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office. President Harry S. Truman later called her the "First Lady of the World" in tribute to her human rights achievements.
  • Samuel Leroy Jackson

    Done 1 year after the originally Who Said What Art Show began, this piece is part of a quartet in which a new style of illustration was explored, making use of a more intricate background. Samuel L. Jackson original said "If you have an opportunity to use your voice you should use it." in an interview discussing his acting career, and encouraging other actors to use their abilities.
  • Jada Koren Pinkett Smith

    Done 1 year after the original Who Said What Art Show began, this piece is part of a quartet in which a new style of illustration was explored, making use of a more intricate background. Jada Pinkett Smith originally wrote this quote as part of an essay called " The War on Men Through the Degradation of Woman", which she originally wrote on Facebook in December of 2012 tackling the issue on how the degradation of women has resulted in problems for both sexes.
  • Anatole France

    Created during the Ayinde Factory Quotables Show "To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all." -Anatole France? Originally from Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard as translated by Lafcadio Hearn (1890)

Commissions

I occasionally get requested to do commissioned pieces for people, and below are some examples.

  • Patricia Jones

    My friend Katrina asked me to draw and memorialize her mother, Patricia Jones. I used a pattern from her shirt as inspiration for the background, and built it up using interlocking halos. This commission was a little more challenging than most, because the reference photo was badly faded and she had two kids on her lap.
  • Jill Wrigley

    “Left hand up: Ho! I am wounded. Right hand rises: Oh, I am light! Injured bird; bird in flight.” September of 2020 • Requested by Suzanne Fontanesi • Typo Grotesk font by Studio Typo Jill Wrigley was an amazing mother, attorney, and activist in Baltimore. Among many things, such as building a park in Irvington, organizing with Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development, she also fought for increased access to fruits and vegetables for Baltimore school children. Of food, she would often talk of it as being one of her primary focuses: “It’s a universal need,” she said.
  • Annie B Jones

    My friend Vanessa asked me to draw and memorialize her mother, Annie Byrd Jones. I used a garland of hibiscus to frame her figure, and used her earrings as inspiration to create a halo of gold and tropical leaves.
  • Joyce and Bobby Douglas

    My friend Brandi Douglas asked me to draw her parents, Joyce & Bobby Douglas, using an old wedding photo. She has been supporting me on Patreon, and this was one of her Patreon Perks!
  • Curtis and Sarah Maples

    Curtis contacted me through Twitter to get a wedding anniversary for his wife, Sara! I particularly love the way the background shapes turned into a heart.

Amalgamated Art

This is an assortment of art not part of any particular series.

  • 3 Worlds 1 web-01.jpg

    This piece was created for Tectonic Space’s show What May Be. The show was all about visions of the future either in positive or negative ways.  The hexapod buggy is inspired by vehicles I drew as a kid; they’re the exploratory vehicles that Zerflainian a
    This piece was created for Tectonic Space’s show What May Be. The show was all about visions of the future either in positive or negative ways. The hexapod buggy is inspired by vehicles I drew as a kid; they’re the exploratory vehicles that Zerflainian aliens drove around. This is the first time I’ve ever out something directly from my childhood drawings into a vector piece. I’ve always been inspired by sci-fi landscape illustrators like Syd Mead, but I’ve never ventured into that territory until now. There are 3 worlds in the piece; can you see them?
  • Korryn Shandawn Gaines

    Korryn Shandawn Gaines
    Korryn Gaines was a 23 year old woman killed by the Baltimore County Police on August 1, 2016. According to the Baltimore County Police Department, officers sought to serve Gaines a warrant in relation to an earlier traffic violation. Upon entering her apartment, an hours-long standoff ensued. At least one of the officers shot Gaines, killing her and wounding Gaines’ five-year-old son.
  • MO5

  • Cardinal

    This Cardinal was made for my Mother for Mother’s Day. For as long as I can remember, in every single one of the many houses we have lived at, there was always a bird feeder sitting outside the kitchen window.

The Robots Are Coming

The Robots Are Coming is an in-progress series based on Adjectives, where I have people send me an adjective of any kind, and I have to create an entire scene based on the adjective, incorporating a robot in some way.

Connect with Benjamin

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Benjamin's Curated Collection

View Benjamin's favorite works from other Baker Artists