Ben Sandness

Builder / Thinker / Artist / Designer

With Craft & Care

Resuscitation - Monotype, ballpoint, graphite, acrylic spray paint, marker, collage - 30x22 - 2012_DETAIL1


I am a self-taught amateur woodworker.  I believe strongly in the tradition of craftsmanship.  I work with a genuine care for the materials and tools at hand.  I am seduced by a romanticized perception of woodworking; taking rough lumber through processes of cutting, shaping, smoothing, and joining to make an object.  I revere my tools, most of which have been acquired second-hand.  I admire them for the service that they have provided to another crafts person and continue to give me.  Restoring, maintaining, sharpening, and otherwise caring for these tools is a ritual that I treasure.

This work is an homage to the tools, processes, and materials that I have and use.  The images that I capture and create serve to document the tools that I cherish, while also chronicling my journey











25, Graphite, ballpoint, charcoal, oil, pastel, coffee, gesso, 48x60 2010 (Detail)


In this work, I focus on identifying and depicting the experience of my worries. I make drawings and prints that depict the things I find myself worrying about. The images often include every-day objects as metaphors for the tension or conflict inherent to my worries. I focus on an emotive use of line, color, and texture as I develop these images. The subject matter and mark making work together to communicate to the viewer a sense of tension. As a result, the viewer is left with the same uneasiness that I experience through my worrying.


March 2, 2009, graphite, muslin, wood, 178X88(surface); 160.25X88X38.25, 2009


This work is a self-referential exploration of human awareness. The images and objects present in my drawings are derived from my streams of conscious thought. I write and draw in an attempt to record (without interrupting) my internal automatic thoughts. I use ordinary ballpoint pen or graphite to draw or write on various sizes of soft, white paper or light, unbleached fabric. The drawings are loose, with quick gestural marks made in an attempt to produce a real-time storyboard of my consciousness. As I repeat this procedure over and over, I try to identify and evaluate external influences that inform my conscious thoughts. My process is an experimental exploration of conscious thought, its progression, and its relationship to physical surroundings. I manipulate personal, technical, and environmental variables by choosing when, where, and how to transcribe my inner dialogue. The viewer is given the opportunity to engage the work with their conscious thought as they find objects, forms, or emotions in the drawings that they can relate to. A connection is temporarily made between a point in my conscious stream and that of the viewer.


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Collaborative artwork holds the potential for a variety of outcomes, ranging from feeble failure to unexpected success.  MailBonding is a collection of postal art projects which document the visual dialogue between artists in a postcard format.

MailBonding 2006 & 2007 were structured the same, where every participant was given a postcard with the same image printed on it.  The card was then altered by the participant and returned to be documented.  The cards are then shuffled and sent out for a second round of altering and are again returned and documented.  This process was repeated twice (2006 and 2007, respectively).

MailBonding RE: is a project documenting artistic correspondence through individual postcards altered and sent back as a “reply.”  Participants are free to send virtually anything.  It will be documented, altered, documented again, and returned.  In many cases, the same postcards will bounce back and forth numerous times.  Through this process, the visual dialogue grows in complexity.

These projects exist in an attempt to capture process of a uniquely slow and deliberate form of communication, while simultaneously building community where it otherwise may not exist.

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