by Ben Wood
Published on December 24, 2017
During the course of this year my ongoing efforts to preserve the Mission Dolores Mural were included in a couple of recently published books. Photographer Dick Evans chronicled the Bartlett Street recreated (and sadly now destroyed) version of the mural in his book, The Mission published by Heyday Books.
Also in celebration of the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library I wrote an essay for their book 50 treasures of the Archive-Library about my ongoing efforts to record and preserve the story of the hidden mural.
In this new year I will be completing a short book about the mural with Jonathan Cordero, PhD who I have been working with over the past couple of years to ensure the legacy of this important early California artwork is not forgotten.
In May I was in New Mexico doing photography at one of America's oldest churches. I hope to share more about this project over the coming months.
Working as an Artist
This year I've been very fortunate to work with Marty Nemko, educator, coach and KALW radio show host, who has brought wisdom, ideas, tools, and strategy never shared with me in the world class colleges where I was a student. Listen to my interview with Marty on his show "Work with Marty Nemko" which aired on KALW 91.7 in September.
by Ben Wood
Published on November 15, 2017Photograph of Haas Lilienthal House Projected Artwork by Ben Wood, Photograph courtesy of Scott Hahn.
An animated video artwork illuminates the front windows of the Haas-Lilienthal house at 2007 Franklin Street in San Francisco with an after-dark projected installation.
Windows of the house are transformed into a unique motion-picture album sharing the life of the family over the decades of the Haas-Lilienthal family and their descendants. The projected artwork includes rare photographs and film from the family archives that have never been shown to the public.
A 15 minute looped-video will be on display each night from 5:00pm to 9:30pm and viewable on the facade windows outside the house at 2007 Franklin Street in San Francisco. The projection will run thru the last week of November.
This project was created by Ben Wood with help from San Francisco Heritage staff members and funded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and David Wessel.
by Ben Wood
Published on April 25, 2017Puffin Foundation Grant
I am delighted to receive a small grant from the Puffin Foundation towards an ongoing project making accessible an endangered and important piece of American history. The foundations mission is "continuing a dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people". This work is emblematic of this special once endangered bird and the foundations goal is to preserve artistic forms of expression that are threatened or forgotten.
by Ben Wood
Published on April 21, 2017Portrait of Ben Brians, grocery store clerk as projected in "A Portrait of Mendocino"
Earlier this month I presented my new artwork embedded as an after dark projected video onto the facade of Moody's Coffee bar in the northern California village of Mendocino
This was my humble project to present citizens in their small towns and neighbourhoods being active and engaged within their communities through their work. This isn't a masterpiece, but my hands on attempt to create an artwork that engages a local community with meaningful questions and issues.
Last night I was reminded of Harvey Milk's words, "the American Dream starts with the neighborhoods" when I was fortunate to hear the Gay rights activist and icon Cleve Jones at Bookshop West Portal. He talked of the meaning that each of us can find within ourselves and our work that will unify and empower those we agree and disagree with. His, The Names Project, a patchwork quilt memorial of the victims of AIDS, was an idea that people laughed at and thought it would never be accepted, and with commitment and work it became the largest community created folk artwork in the world. To the only child in the room, he said, don't listen when you're told something can't be done.
I've recently been very fortunate to work with Marty Nemko, educator, career coach and KALW radio show host, who in the space of weeks has brought wisdom, ideas, tools, and strategy never shared with me in the world class colleges where I was a student. Marty has encouraged me to create work that is accessible to a larger audience that highlights and is inclusive of a spectrum of backgrounds. He has reminded me that no matter how small a group, that you can use your talents and power to bring meaning to peoples lives.
This project in Mendocino was a first step in that direction. Something that I could create and accomplish with my own hands, with next to no budget, at a human scale, in a small town where people need to be respected and included. It is a prototype which in the long term I hope to share as new works in small towns in the United States.
by Ben Wood
Published on Feb 27, 2017
Great news for the project! the Mendocino Fringe Festival Committee reviewed, discussed and made a recommendation to fund $2,500 towards the production of "A Portrait of Mendocino".
Also many thanks for donations so far from Paul Douglas, John Osborne, PhD, Susan b. Wood, Mary Charlebois, Pat Scott, Elizabeth Fu and in kind donation from Marty Nemko, PhD., Eric and Elaine Wing Hillesland
The completed artwork will be presented during the inaugural Fringe Festival on Friday April 7th and Saturday April 8th, at sundown. Location to be announced - stay tuned!
by Ben Wood
Published on Feb 20, 2017
He proposes to present image sequences as time-lapses, cycling through portraits of the town's citizens, its artists, actors, musicians, book sellers, librarians, tour guides, historians, merchants, servers, inn-keepers, shop keepers, gardeners, cooks, residents and tourists in their spaces. People will be featured in their physical setting as animated portraits briefly carrying out their activity.
The artwork will focus on the local community members, it's quietly dedicated citizens and workers who comprise a vital source for preservation of the towns identity and the village itself as a vibrant West Coast destination of natural, cultural and architectural heritage.
It will be a contemporary animated portrait of Mendocino village presenting visually dramatic moving portraits and landscapes to be embedded as an after dark projected artwork onto the facade of a building in the village for the upcoming Mendocino Almost Fringe Festival on April 7, 8. Specific projection location is yet to be determined.
The artworks goal is to embody the uplifting ideals of Mendocino as a town where people can get to work in their neighborhood, livelihoods and within their community to repair the world.
Much gratitude to Art Center Exhibitions Coordinator Dana Hall for motivating a new project with the town especially for the upcoming festival.
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by Ben Wood
Published on December 20th, 2016
With project partner San Francisco Heritage I have won a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to animate the windows of the historic museum, San Francisco's Haas-Lilienthal House with after dark projected-art work.
The Moe Fund, is a special program of the National Trust that encourages state and local preservation organizations to envision and test creative, "break-through" ideas and strategies. The fund encourages members of the National Trust's Partners Network to undertake new initiatives that have a demonstrable impact on their work or their community.
The project will take place some time in 2017 at the Haas-Lilienthal House. - Stay Tuned!
Ben Wood is the middle of a set of triplets, the others being Bryan (identical) and Richard (fraternal) When the Wood Triplets were born, they were the first triplets to be born in many years at Southlands Hospital in West Sussex, United Kingdom. Ben weighed the least at a little under 2 llbs. He is one of six boys.See news from 1980.