Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating?
Ben Joyce: My whole life. I was always very artistic and very visual. I used to love painting landscapes. When I attended Gonzaga University, I traveled to Florence, Italy and that was where my awareness of the emotional connection to place really started to develop. My time in Florence really sculpted who I am and what my work is today. I have been creating my current style, Abstract Topophilia with a Broken Frame™, for 17 years. I also began creating a Wooden Collection about 2 years ago.
Do you work with other mediums?
I work with all types of acrylics, oils, gels, resins, stains, burlap - the list goes on.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
It starts with my inspiration and the aerial perspective of the composition to the location. My art is all about connection to place and the love of place. When I feel that connection I sketch the art, then my younger brother Jason, who has worked with me for 12 years, does the wood-working, and then I use various techniques to get the piece painted. After that we seal the piece and my brother frames it.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
People’s connection to place and love of place. My style, Topophilia, literally means “Love of Place." It’s timeless, and universal. My message is Love Your Place, my goal is to give the viewer recognizable lines that they in turn inject their love, pride, and history into; the pieces take on a new life with each individual.
Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
Definitely geography and places.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
A painting of a skull between the worlds of black and white, void of color. I was in a funk and had an image in my head. Before I could move on, I had to paint it. The piece is still hanging up in my studio. I call it “Inspired by the Uninspired”.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
17 years ago, I was searching for my own style. There were these constant hurdles that I kept coming up against with the landscape style I had be doing forever. So one night, I was laying in my bed, looking up at the ceiling. The ceiling of my apartment wasn’t square, and with all of the shadows I felt like I was looking down onto a city street grid. That’s where it hit me - I needed to be painting these landscapes from an aerial perspective, but they can’t be confined within a closed frame. So from day one, I’ve never created a topographical piece on a closed frame panel because it contradicts what geography is - geography is constant and each piece I create connects with the next piece I create, figuratively.
If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I have a website, benjoyceart.com. I will have a booth at the Edmonds Art Festival, June 15th-18th. I will also be a part of the Bellevue Arts Fair, July 27th-29th.
I have pieces in various other places - at Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene, Raimey Fine Art in Palm Desert, and at Downriver Grill and Inland Pacific Kitchen in Spokane. I also have some pieces in the Barrister Tasting Room in downtown Spokane.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I’m getting ready to start working on a global film project featuring my art and the study of connection to place. I’ve been dreaming about it for over 10 years, and now it’s becoming reality. It’ll be a big moment for my art and message, and I’m really excited to get started on it!
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!