Creating artwork has always been in the fabric of who ben is. The inspiration of one’s Connection to Place came early in his childhood, where he was always exploring the hills behind his home in Acton, CA and creating dream cities and worlds using anything he could get his hands on. One of eight children, art was an outlet for ben to create and explore in ways only children can do.
While studying art in Florence, Italy, (Gonzaga University ’98-’99), his awareness of the connection to place grew tremendously as he studied the people throughout Europe. While climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro on the Tanzania/Kenya border, he decided to focus solely on his true calling; the art of connection to place. In 2002, ben dreamed up the concept of painting aerial perspectives, providing the viewer an outline of their place; where, in return, they could inject the piece with their connection and bring the art to life. At the same moment, he realized that by opening up a corner of his art, he invited the viewer to expand their experience beyond the confines of a solid frame. Abstract Topophilia® and Broken Frame® were born.
Off to a wonderful and rewarding start as a professional artist, ben asked his younger brother Jason to come on board to help further the art and broaden the message of LYP Love Your Place®. Soon, they teamed up with long time friend Alan Aldous to complete the LYP trifecta. LYP for ben is about creating connection for people and pursuing his passion with brush in hand and paint on his clothes.
ben, his wife Erin, and their 3 children love spending every moment possible exploring, hiking, and floating the Northfork of the Coeur d’ Alene river, where the family cabin is into the 4th generation.
Alan’s love of place took root along the banks of the Columbia River on his family’s orchard. The family home was a converted apple shed that had been moved, in the 1940’s, to higher ground and away from rising water behind Grand Coulee Damn. It was an everyday reminder of both how places change, and that every place has a story to tell - a history of what came before.
On a recent trip to visit his sister in Kenya, Alan found it fascinating to visit the coastal town of Kilifi, where many of the resident’s appearances seemed to offer visual explanation to the origins of Swahili (a Bantu language with ancient arabic influences). It’s easy to understand why the preservation of language is so important around the world, as language is a critical element to Love of Place.
Alan and his wife, Mary, share a passion for Priest Lake based on experiences dating back nearly 20 years. The connections to the Lake they are building with their 4 children are intertwined with preserving lake history. They are the fourth owners of a cabin that was originally built in 1913 and was used as the 8 Mile Island tack shed. Priest Lake history is literally in every wall, and that is the basis from which they build and maintain their connection. For Alan, LYP® is about Loving Your Place, Living Your Passion, and learning from others doing the same.
Growing up around his parent’s regional newspaper company, Jason noticed the role the paper played in connecting residents of his small desert town to the local and regional calendar of events. The majority of his neighbors relied on the paper as a tool to help maintain the strong connection they had for their community.
Jason’s interest in different cultures led him to study International Business at Gonzaga University, and to embark on the Joyce Family tradition of spending a year abroad in the Gonzaga in Florence program. He had the good fortune to travel outside Italy whenever opportunity came, and visited 21 different countries while studying there; including, Hungary, Portugal, Morocco, Poland, and Lithuania.
Jason continued his global travel after graduation to Guam for a year and then on to South Korea to teach English in Seoul. Such diverse travel led Jason to understand how Love of Place is a common theme across cultures, languages, ethnicities, and countries. Jason considers himself fortunate to have traveled and experienced as much as he has. This human connection between people and place was the driving force for him in starting LYP.