In honor of San Diego Pride 2018, internationally known LGBT artist Ben Workman, aka Jumper Maybach is bringing his latest series The Pride Collection: Introspection to Little Italy through July 31. The works will be on exhibition and for purchase at Meyer Fine Art, and the artist will be making special appearances from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, July 12 and 5-8 p.m. Friday, July 13 from.
Known around the world for his message-driven and more abstract works, Jumper has exhibited in Dubai, Venice, the Galerie du Louvre in Paris, Barcelona and Austria. PACIFIC caught up with the artist after his starring role as Official Artist of Pride Houston 2018 to find out more about him and his raison d'être.
Who is Jumper Maybach?
BEN WORKMAN: He is the persona of Ben Workman that was born back in 2011 after an intense bullying incident on my job. I got on my hands and knees and had a spiritual awakening. I heard God’s voice to be Jumper and to paint, and I picked up a paintbrush. I had never painted before in my life. My grandfather was a clown, and I was first painted on when I was 4. I don’t know if that was him channeling through me, but I now have that strong spiritual connection with God. If a door opens don’t question it, just go through it.
Tell us about Jumper. What’s his mission?
The persona of Jumper is about people having a self-awareness about why they have a hate or intolerance deep inside them that they may not be aware of. Jumper is just as much a part of the art as the art itself. I want this to go all over the world to be a teaching tool for people to overcome hate, bigotry and intolerance.
How has Jumper’s character developed or changed over the years?
I have become more encouraged by the #metoo movement. But just look at all of the gun violence and bullying in the world. When I first started it was a whirlwind, but now it’s even more intense. To go forward we are going to have to speak up. I would like to speak in schools to kids and parents, and do some good with my art and message.
You’ve exhibited around the world. Have you found people’s views different or similar on themes of bullying, intolerance, LGBT activism from country to country or on a global scale?
When people come in, it’s amazing how they relate to it. There are so many people with some form of understanding of what it’s like to be bullied; I’ve never had someone say they haven’t. Or, people say they were bullies themselves, because they couldn’t accept who they were. They are learning to overcome their hate.
Some of your works are quite literal with actual words and phrases concerning pride, bullying and hate. How do your more abstract works speak to the LGBT community or are they geared to a larger audience?
The ones without words attract the wide gamut of the population. More and more people see things in the abstracts, it’s a self-discovery. They see themselves and their own lives.
Who were your artistic influences? Jackson Pollock?
I thought I was unique and I didn’t know Pollock, but he was dark. I like bright colors, they give you life and wake up the soul to understand the art.
When you are creating a work, is it instinctual and you just go with it, or is it planned out then executed?
I don’t have a specific point, I just grab the paint and it occurs. It turns out to be the painting I want it to be and I know when to stop. I just do it. I don’t know if I’m bringing out that 3- to 4-year-old mentality of not thinking. When I’m creating in that moment, I don’t have the thoughts or the worries. I am just free flowing to create.
Have you been to San Diego Pride before?
No, I haven’t. I’m flying in on the 11th and giving myself time to enjoy it.
How many works are you showing in San Diego?
Thirteen and a lot of prints. There are some in print from prior series, as well, that people will find enlightening.
What would you say to a young individual struggling with bullying, intolerance or coping with his own identity?
Tell your parents or someone you love. Or a counselor. There are a lot of resources to seek help like the Trevor Project that help kids thinking about suicide. I am hoping to have a foundation myself to help filter these types of resources to the community.
To RSVP for the artist appearances, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meyer Fine Art, 2400 Kettner Blvd., Ste 104, Little Italy, 619.358.9512, meyerfineartinc.com