“We all suffer from the dreams we aren’t able to create, Ben shows us a way to hang on and get them to happen.” - Anonymous, from student survey
“I love to speak with students about making art and how to thrive in the real world as a creative person. The approach is hands on, practical and philosophical.”
My personal ad for an audience might read: “I’m looking people who are a little bit lost and need a kick in the pants to release their inner chutzpah. If you want to learn about an NEA fellow who uses neon, anthropology and phenomenology as a medium and then gets you thinking about what you're going to do, then I’m your guy. Bumps on a log need not apply. Active listeners encouraged.”
I am an entertainer. It’s in my blood. I enjoy a well told story and I love telling a good one. I’ve created a life where experience is the main attraction. As a speaker, I try to make sure that every person in the audience can relate to me as an artist, as a human, as a creative person. I can speak about so many aspects of being artist from paying bills to filling up a museum but the main thing, for me as a speaker is to find that sweet spot between the listener and me. That’s the alchemy I’m going for.
I have no high-brow pedigree. My experiences are my higher education. I’ve talked with audiences of all sizes in museums, theaters, classrooms and university auditoriums. I’ve talked about everything from phosphorescent minerals to Spirit Houses and crematory ghats of Katmandu to George Plimpton’s experiential journalism to the phenomenology of consciousness as an artist. My audiences walk away looking at their own ideas with renewed confidence in their unique resourcefulness. Simple ideas like ways to keep expenses down.
That’s huge for artists. Early on, a mentor told me: “Just do your work.” It took me twenty years to figure out what that meant. Dreaming is essential to the creative process, but how do we keep our imagination and pursuits fertile and alive? If I can reinforce the importance of keeping the entanglement of comparison to others at bay, then I have done my job.
I’d love to design a talk for you. Hit the contact button.