As Ben stared at the ceiling while lying in bed, he had an epiphany that would change his life and the landscape of art. He was at Gonzaga in Florence studying fresco, sculpture and color, while painting as much as he could. As he painted the beautiful landscapes surrounding him, he always felt confined to a limited perspective. What was to the left or right or behind him? It was as he stared up at the ceiling noticing the shape of the room and its similarities to shapes found in maps that an idea began to take shape.
Before this moment, Ben started his undergraduate career playing football and pursuing a degree in architecture in San Diego. When he found himself drawn to something different, his parents encouraged him to transfer to Gonzaga, where they had met years before while in Florence.
The concept that is rooted in Ben's time in Florence is driven by a love of place and is what he now calls Abstract Topophilia. By bringing the perspective of his art above a landscape, breaking out of frames and taking a sculptural approach to creating rich textures, he has captured the ever changing nature of the places we know and love.
Though some have suggested that Ben move to a larger city to grow his art business, he has found international success from Spokane and is connected to the place where he fostered a love of the outdoors, graduated college and met his wife. He has put entrepreneurial skills learned at Gonzaga to work, establishing a website, creating art pieces that specifically appeal to new markets and partnering with his brother Jason, also a Gonzaga alum, to help with fabrication of the pieces and management of sales and finances.
The connection that people find with their place through Ben's work is apparent, and collectors include Google Earth, Coeur d'Alene Resort owner Duane Hagadone, Pharrell Williams, John Travolta, and more. Of course his alma matter has one of his pieces proudly on display in the Jepson Center (School of Business Administration).