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.
High school was spent avoiding getting beaten up and avoiding home. 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 Los Angeles. Out of college I worked as a grade school art teacher and was also the assistant curator for the Los Angeles’ city art collection. I got my MFA at Washington State University in Pullman, and 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. I have facilitated and been a leader of over fifty experiential men's and women's weekends, including being one of the founders of Deep Water Men, a non-profit community in Oregon. 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-five solo exhibitions from Washington D.C. to Southern California, have participated in over sixty invitational, juried, and group exhibitions, and have done a number of artist residencies from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland. I am a tenured faculty member at George Fox University and have taught full time for over 23 years. I write, blog, have a comedic podcast, and have spoken to groups of twenty to over a thousand folks.
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