A study in Matisse

When he was 18 years old, Ben was offered an opportunity to be a foreign exchange student in the south of France. An artist since Kindergarten, he jumped at the chance and found himself sampling French cheeses with warm baguettes and buttery croissants along the Cote d’Azur. It was an eye-opening adventure for a young man, who flew from Washington DC to Paris’s crowded Charles de Gaulle airport, navigated the metro system, and made himself at home along the blue coast of the French Riviera. Ben was already a student of languages, studying both French and German, but after his three-months in France, he was a francophone.

Ben spent his early twenties in the Air Force doing tool assembly during peace time. While it was a great job, that provided him with the structure and sense of purpose he enjoyed, the lingering fear of danger was eventually too much and he requested, and received, an honorable discharge. Still a young man, Ben enjoyed traveling and spent his idle time painting pictures from magazine covers.

But with age, Ben’s artistic style has grown to reflect the post-impressionist styles to which he was first introduced in Kindergarten and with which he became acquainted in France.

Having been told since he was a child that Henry Matisse was an important person for a budding young artist to study, Ben made a series of paintings in Matisse’s fauvist style. An advocate for therapeutic arts and the programs at Mosaic Community Services, Ben dedicates the pieces he’s donated to the Create for Recovery campaign to his father, Joe, who died in early 2017 at age 91.