I was born in Phoenix Arizona in 1966. My father was from Brooklyn New York and my mother was from a small farm in Kansas. My childhood was spent in shorts, selling junk I made in front of our house, drawing spaceships, creating clubs I would coerce my friends to join, and melting crayons on the sidewalk. From the get go, I was always drawing characters (perhaps you saw some of my work in Highlights), and creating sculptures, recycling things my parents attempted to throw away. My mother was especially faithful in the grocery store to buy me drawing pads and various art materials. Perhaps she was just trying to keep me out of trouble.
High school was spent avoiding getting beaten up, avoiding home, and enjoying the benefits of pretending to be someone else. I went to college at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth for a year, and then finished my degree in studio art at Biola University in the Los Angeles area. Out of college I worked as a grade school art teacher in Carson, California and was also the assistant curator for the Los Angeles’ city art collection. Soon after I got into grad school to get my MFA at Washington State University in Pullman. After grad school I worked in Seattle, heading up art programs for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, and also speaking to irate shoppers as a customer service phone agent for a clothing company. In 1993 I was hired by Grand Canyon University in Phoenix to teach art and chair the department. I was there for nine years. In July of 2003, I moved back to the wet and lovely Northwest to take a position within the art faculty at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. I have been here since, teaching students how to make things, living in community and walking to work.
In 1997 I was initiated into men's work and have found myself facilitating and leading men's experiencial work and weekends since. The power of friendship, brotherhood, and what it is to be a man in the 21st century are vital parts of my life and work.
I have had over twenty solo exhibitions from Washington D.C. to Southern California, and have participated in over fifty invitational, juried, and group exhibitions. Art for me is an integral part of the human experience and continues to be a place to be authentic and share hope, and the irony and blessings of life in all its beauty and mess.
Photo taken in Newport Oregon October of 2012, courtesy John Bennett