The first artist book by Benedict, Bonjour Tourist is a demure compilation of the themes, people, and nuances that this LA-born artist holds dear. A conversation with Martin Guttmann—text messages exchanged over a five-month period—sheds some light on it all. For the past several years Will Benedict has been working professionally as a photographer, painter, and tourist. Bonjour Tourist is a series of works relying on various combinations of gouache paintings and cut-out studio portraits, mounted in customized aluminum and foamcore frames. Organized into distinct series, they present the categories of newscasters, postcards, flags, couples having dinner, and nations peeking in through windows. Compared to the kind of aesthetic stimulation one gets from watching TV, these pieces are like watching two, maybe three channels at the same time. In Benedict’s work, the buzzing clamor of things, places, foods and people is fossilized in lavishly painted and waxed foamcore passepartouts, freezing the sadness of the tourist and viewer (who are one and the same) into a slightly manic mixture of euphoria and irritability. Captured along with everyone and everything in these passepartouts are paintings on canvas depicting a tits-and-dicks nationalism that sells restaurant food, plane tickets to exotic locales, walls or postage stamps.