Born in Israel in 1976, Ori Bengal was always doodling, but never considered a career in art. He thought he’d grow up and make cartoons (after being an astronaut, or a veterinarian).
His father had a passion for electronic engineering and science fiction, and thus Ori’s childhood was filled with Science Fiction novels as bedtime stories. Ori was the only 7 year old on the block to have his own soldering iron, and by By 6th grade, Ori was building computers from scratch.
On his 9th birthday, Ori’s parents relocated the whole family to the USA, where Ori learned English by watching cartoons. Wanting to make them became a bit of an obsession- he taught himself animation and 3D, and took jobs that would advance his abilities to create (like working at CompUSA to get wholesale cost on computer parts, or video editing gigs to have access to high-end 3D programs).
Ori would draw and paint for fun, and in 2000, a girlfriend talked him into doing an art show…. He jumped on the first one he found, it was one of those art-walk events that most cities have, and none of the 20 people that walked by that night bought anything, so he thought himself a failure as an artist. He stopped drawing… Although he kept doing creative things: Video editing, 3D animation, graphic design, and eventually landed in Photography.
A week before quitting the last job he ever had (2005 – running a print shop and photo studio) to be a full time photographer, Ori found out that he won the grand prize of the American Humane Association’s Pets & Pals Photo Contest. The winning photo was of a little girl sharing an ice cream cone with a dog. The original shoot was attempted with 2 dogs, but Peanut kept eating the entire cone with one bite, while Nugget would gently lick the cone.
Ori has always had pets: dogs, cats, fish, birds, tarantulas, mice, hamsters, iguanas, snakes, and, guinnea pigs… But mostly dogs.
He lived a bit of a rock-and-roll lifestyle – photographing lingerie models and parties in South Beach… Going on random adventures…. Most of his friends had regular jobs, and couldn’t go along. So, in 2006, when his lease was going to expire, he gave away his stuff (except for laptop, a suitcase of clothes, and a camera), and went Couchsurfing for 6 adventure-filled years, where he stayed with everyone from UFC cage fighters to the CEO of Zappos.com, everyone in between, and their pets.
Staying with hundreds of people allowed Ori to discover a lot about himself, and about people in general — as well as to jump out of planes, go to NASCAR Races, attend Burning Man, do public speaking, play bull-poker, and have countless other adventures.
In 2011, while couch surfing in Maui, a friend took Ori to the art galleries in Lahaina. Ori didn’t want to go (thinking it would be boring and snooty), but as soon as he set foot into the first gallery, he was addicted. By the 5th gallery, he felt heartbreak and regret about having abandoned creating art… Since then Ori’s been creating a new work of art every single day, no matter what.
Ori’s obsession with creating has taken him from drawing, to painting, to sculpting in all forms, to carving, and welding, to 3D, and he’s always exploring new techniques and materials.
Everything came full circle… Ori’s obsession with science fiction and electronics has led him to futuristic technologies (such as using 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC Routers, and more) blended with his obsession with mastery and creation, and his love of the world’s furry friends.
His work is unique, collected in multiple countries around the world , transcends any particular medium, and represents Ori’s Ori’s own sense of playfulness, passion, and freedom.