Ben Mann has made a vibrant and indelible mark on the landscape of his native town of Bellingham, WA. His art practice is founded on a BFA in illustration from San Francisco's Academy of Art University, and what he has done with that diploma has been a creative path to sustainability as a full-time artist. Commercial projects include murals, menus and signage for local businesses, as well as greeting cards and calendars with local and national distribution. Fine artworks that he creates adorn the walls of local eateries, salons, bakeries and a wide variety of non-gallery environs. His commissioned work from private clientele has ranged from whimsical pet portraits to canvases that toast the rich legacy of the family home. He also plays an active role in the public elementary schools, with a 2-hour 'Mr. Acrylic' workshop that he brings into local classrooms, as a specialist via the Allied Arts Education Project. Some schools employ him with 2-week residencies that result in collaborative, permanent murals that will spark the imaginations of future students.
Mann reports, "The need to adapt as a professional artist in different arenas has been the very thing that keeps my creative momentum evolving--and with no two days alike, my workdays remain interesting. I am given credit for being prolific, when in reality I can't hardy wait to pick up the paintbrush each morning."
Beyond his studio, Mann travels on purpose, propelled his facility in foreign languages, with a curiosity for local cuisine and an ever-present sketchbook in tow. Upon his return, the drawing invariably resurface as fodder for his formal works on canvas. Distilling their content to vibrant and distinctive paintings is an immensely rewarding chance to create beauty, and to renew memories of his adventures.