Voulez-Vous: "I am inspired by spirits in the trees."


Welcome to Mamamia’s art endeavour, the Voulez-Vous Project. Every week we celebrate emerging artists, designers, illustrators, creators and women who knit using their vaginas. (Kidding. Maybe.)

Our aim: to help the internet become a slightly more beautiful, captivating, or thought-provoking place by making art accessible. To find out more about the Voulez-Vous project, click here. Click here to see all the previous Voulez-Vous posts.

We are surrounded by trees each day, but we rarely look at them in such depth and such detail as people like Kay Benjamin.

In fact, trees are her inspiration.

“I am inspired by the concept that there might be spirits in the trees,” she told Mamamia.

“The idea is that the trees have past secrets.”

Kay studied art at school and found she had a passion for creating.

“I majored in photography and etching at university, but I particularly loved life drawing and the human form.”

But why trees? Well, she believes everyone loves them.

“Initially I was taken by a tree in front of my house. I watched the light play with it from morning to night and started photographing it. I wanted to show its journey through the seasons, the way the sun hangs low in winter and gleams through from above in summer. I then started playing with the photos. I superimposed three stills and what appeared were three very distinct women. It haunted me. It was months before I decided I just had to paint what I saw.”

Her painting turned out incredibly and her passion for artistically representing trees blossomed.

“I now photograph trees to see if there are any people. Many don’t have any to be found but the ones that do are very distinct and are always of a set period in time. I paint them as I see them. I have recently started the task of writing short stories about each of my paintings.”


Kay is the first to admit she has had a creative streak in her for years, but she never took it seriously. She drew as a child and won prizes at school, but she also loved to sew and design clothes. She pursued fashion, and her art was left behind.

“That now seems unfortunate but it wasn’t at the time, it’s just the way life took me,” she said.

Kay was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and credits this journey with changing her direction in life.

“My children and son in law conspired to buy me an easel. I had never been a painter so I began to draw again. In 2008 I entered a collage in the form of a mosaic depicting my journey in the “Oncology on Canvas” in New York.

It wasn’t until last year that I started to paint. Not being a painter, as such, I have always used mixed media finding inspiration from the way things look and feel and adapting ideas, thus my paintings are also mixed media with plant debris attached.”

She is inspired by anything and everything, and says the days are just far too short to cope with the ideas running through her mind.

At the end of the day, her work comes down to one thing.

“Art is about passion, design is about attraction.”

Click through the gallery below to view more of Kay’s work. 

To visit Kay’s website, click here.

Do you know an artist (or are YOU an artist) who creates beautiful or thought-provoking work and whom you think should be featured on Mamamia’s Voulez-Vous Project? Send an email to