Biography

Benjamin Nelson Barnes10530762_773507946003085_6594414392020487984_n

Born in Burlington, Vermont in 1975, Ben grew up in Colchester. His father (a scientist) and his mother (a librarian), had both painted at times, and their art hung on the walls of their home aside a Chinese woodblock, a tiny watercolor of flowers, a Persian rug, and prints of paintings they liked. Ben spent lots of time drawing, and around 7th grade, had a strong desire to paint. He loved art in books, and was fortunate to have his parents bring him to museums. Colchester High School had a great art teacher, who encouraged many artists through the years. Ben had a crew of close friends, artists and musicians, who inspired eachother. From 1993-97 Ben attended Mass Art, in Boston, where he graduated with a BFA. Those were experimental years, being surrounded with so much music and culture and art. Mass Art had fantastic facilities, and Ben made use of the dark room, the pottery, the woodshop, and spent days at the museums. His paintings during college reflected that positive experience, and ranged from expressionist landscapes to abstract heiroglyphics, from detailed domestic interiors to surreal montages of history and fantasy. After graduation, he moved back to Vermont to spend time with his brother’s newly growing family, and soon after started a family of his own. To support them, he took various jobs: cooking, painting bridges, vinyl siding, building condos, trimming restaurants, and finally historic restoration…three years as a steeplejack. Settling in Glover, he began painting the place around him, and became associated with detailed but painterly depictions of tractors and trucks. Now his sense of realism has lead him to portray outbuildings, clouds, derelicts, rivers and swamps, workshops, stores, restaurants, and anything else that seems beautiful but unnoticed.