San Diego native Rod Benson may have retired from professional basketball, but he has transferred the aggressive nature of the sport into his artwork.
Benson, who played in the summer leagues for Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz, is now the star of the recently opened Zalkin Law Firm office where his bright and bold street-style artwork is on display. Alex Zalkin, an attorney at the law firm, commissioned work from Benson, a childhood friend with whom he played basketball with at Torrey Pines High School.
Although Benson played professional basketball for more than a decade, he has always had a love and an eye for artwork.
“I was a big fan of graffiti art in high school and created my style back then,” said Benson, who now works in Los Angeles as a sports commentator and writer. “I then did years of graphic design for various clothing companies while I was playing professional basketball. Once I retired, I decided to give fine art a go since I had so much free time.”
One of Benson’s masterpieces, an image of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is the focal point of the San Diego law office.
“Having this dramatic image of Justice Ginsburg looking over our office is meaningful to all of us because of her lifelong struggle to fight against discrimination in her legal career,” Zalkin said. “RBG is an inspiration to our legal team as we seek justice for our clients.”
Benson, whose work can also be viewed at various Los Angeles galleries, said Zalkin and his family have been some of his biggest supporters in his new endeavor.
“Alex and his family have been my best friends for decades so we’ve shared so many great memories,” Benson said.
Zalkin describes Benson’s work as “extremely unique” and powerful.
“He manages to convey power and emotion through his use of contrast and a bright color pallet,” Zalkin said. “It’s been really fun to see Rod’s growth as an artist following his professional basketball career, and I really enjoy seeing his work every day I walk in to the office.”
Benson said he hopes his artwork will continue to inspire others, including the next generation of artists.
“In the end, it would be cool to help children get into and produce their own art,” Benson said. “It’s truly awesome whenever I give a kid a brush or a can of spray, and watch them become so excited to create their own thing.”
Follow Rod Benson on Instagram at @zsorryon.