A background of the artist, both in terms of the medium and other aspects of his or her life, allow others greater insight into the artist’s inspiration and direction. This is just a snippet of Joel’s background and consequent drive to play with wood and rock. Please contact Joel for any additional information that you would like.

Joel Benson has long played with items surrounding him to create functional art - pieces that reflect a notion or idea and simultaneously can be used to display magazines, hang clothes, sit on, frame a picture, etc. The pieces have always provided an outlet for his left brain while his right brain ticked away the hours at a computer, sitting in meetings, attending school and carrying out myriad other activities.

Recently, Joel has decided to take twenty years of production for friends and family and make woodwork and mixed media pieces available for others. A natural resource planner and Certified Educator in Holistic Management, he serves as a Trustee for the Town of Buena Vista, advises on forest management techniques, provides facilitation services and works with his wife in various consulting capacities for Outburst, LLC. However, one of his passions lies in playing in the shop. Take a bunch of rock, tile, and wood into the black box that is the shop and emerge with an eye-catching piece that conjures a story.

Joel began whittling and making elementary spoons in the Boy Scouts during the 80s. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica, he explored making furniture from scrap hardwoods, addressing the question of structural integrity in a piece made from the wood tossed into the burn pile. Apprenticing under a master woodworker in Ashland, Oregon, he further developed skills and techniques in cabinetry, shelving, and creative design. Remodeling three houses drew his curiosity to mixing tile and wood together.

Currently Joel lives in Buena Vista, Colorado with his wife Laurie and his daughter Grace. Both call upon him for new woodwork, from toys to tables. He primarily explores his passions of woodwork and tile work. Although he supports his community wherever he can, writes articles on behalf of the town Tree Board for the Chaffee County Times and plays in his kayak as much as possible.