Jeff Benson

Jeff Benson

Artist Blacksmith

Jeff Benson

Artist Statement:

I’ve been a creator all my life. Like most children I loved to draw and paint, but I also wanted to make things with my hands, things that would last. Early on my father taught me how to use tools. I was forever in his shop making things, often functional things like slingshots and bows, or drums made from logs that I split and hollowed out then glued back together. Sometimes they were sculpture, although I didn’t know it then, they were just objects that looked cool and made me feel good.

As a furniture maker in the 1990’s I wanted to add woodcarving to my list of skills. A book about how to make woodcarving tools introduced me to blacksmithing. I soon found a forge and anvil and from the first hammer blow was hooked! The process of physically changing the shape of a piece of hot steel fascinated me and started me on my artist blacksmith career. The versatility of steel and the broad range of methods used to shape and form it satisfy my need to explore and learn more. My ability to forge hot steel into graceful organic forms and then combine those elements into strong structural elements or sensuous sculptures fulfills my longing to create. For me my work has purpose, function and beauty.

I find great satisfaction in building relationships with clients and collaborating with them to create beautiful, functional works to fulfill their needs. Often I am asked to create something using techniques I have not used before. These are welcome opportunities to challenge myself and delve into new methods and broaden my skill set. Learning a new skill opens new horizons and possibilities for my work. Some of me goes into every project, a lot more of me goes into some projects! I want my work to satisfy my customers, but ultimately it must satisfy me.

Since 1997 I have created unique furniture, sculpture, public art, balustrades, and architectural elements for residential and commercial clients. My goal is to exceed their expectations, and I frequently hear that I do.

Biography:
Maybe it’s his mustache. Maybe it’s the kilt he often wears. Most likely it’s the high quality of his custom wrought iron metalwork. People recognize Jeff Benson, Artist Blacksmith for lots of different reasons. He started building in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area in 1984. He installed solar heating systems, remodeled homes and built new homes. His interests focused on functional art during the 1990’s, and his passion for blacksmithing emerged in 1996. Knowing all the different phases of construction helps Benson anticipate what will happen in a new design. He comfortably works with other trades on complex projects with his greatest pleasure coming from custom work. He listens carefully to clients, researches styles and comes up with insightful, bold designs. He naturally combines different media, like metal, stone, glass and wood, constantly experimenting with new techniques to achieve unforgettable results.

Description of Work:

Custom ornamental metalwork. Functional art for businesses and homes, from furniture to sculptures, home accessories, architectural elements and dramatic forged stair railings.

Member:
  • Green Bay Art Studio Tour Committee – Past Chair
  • newARTS (Northeast Wisconsin Arts Council), Past Board Member
  • UMBA (Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association), Ex Officio and Contributing Author
  • NEWWG (Northeast WI Woodworkers Guild), Past Officer
  • ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America), Member and Contributing Author
  • GOM (Guild of Metalsmiths), Member
Achievements:
  • 2014 – Jeff Benson is one of 90 international artist blacksmiths presented in the beautiful hard cover book, “Ironwork Today 4: Inside and Out.”
  • 2013 – “Meet the ‘Blacksmith Artist'” – An NBC channel 26 interview with John Maino as part of “The Maino Project.”
  • 2012 – “Spiral Staircase for a North Woods Home” – Five-page article about an extraordinary spiral staircase Benson created appears in the Winter 2012 edition of “The Anvil’s Ring.” “The Anvil’s Ring” is a highly reputed trade publication from the Artist Blacksmith Association of America. “Sweet Treats” sculpture selected by Einstein Project as one-of-a-kind sculpture for their Butterflies & Friends on Parade fundraising event.
  • 2011 – “Manufacturing the Future” – A award-winning documentary by Alex Zacarias and Dean Thomas explores manufacturing and its future. It includes significant footage of Benson forging and sharing insights on the creativity required to design the future. The film premiered at the Green Bay Film Festival, and was subsequently aired on Public Television.
  • 2010 – Warren Gerds featured Benson in the Green Bay Press-Gazette as a local artist with an intriguing work space. Benson was commissioned to design and make two sculptural bike racks for a downtown Green Bay development project, called “Park in the Art”. Check out the fun film by Josh Beaton which includes footage of the bike racks in use in The Bike Race. “Summer Blooms” sculpture was selected by Einstein Project as a one-of-a-kind sculpture for their Butterflies & Friends on Parade fundraising event.
  • 2009 – A film of Benson was created for the 2009 Butterfly and Friends event for the Einstein Project. Benson provided a one-of-a-kind butterfly for their Butterflies & Friends on Parade fundraising event.
  • 2008 – Multiple projects included the book, Ironwork Today 2 Includes Jeff Benson Metalwork”Ironwork Today 2,” published by Schiffer Publishing. Einstein Project requested a one-of-a-kind crane for their Butterflies & Friends on Parade event.
  • 2007 – Featured at the Home Expo, sponsored by the Brown County Home Builders Association.
  • 2006 – Dragonfly design selected by the Einstein Project for expansion of their fundraising event.
  • 2005 – Appointed to newARTS (Northeastern Wisconsin Arts Council) Board.
  • 2004 – Featured demonstrator at grand opening of historic Galena Illinois Blacksmith Shop.
  • 2003 – Einstein Project – Chosen to design and coordinate the fabrication of 35 three-foot tall aluminum butterflies. Green Bay area artists decorated the butterflies and they were mounted all around downtown Green Bay. After several months, they were auctioned off, raising over $50,000. The program also won the Mayor’s Beautification Award for Green Bay.
  • 2002 – TV Channel 26 aired a special titled, “A Modern Master,” a TV investigative portrait of Jeff Benson’s blacksmithing work.
  • 2001 – newARTS chose Benson’s design, “Dancing with Light” for a public art forged metal sculpture for the city of Green Bay. The 13-foot-tall, 1000-pound sculpture graces the River Walk along the Fox River.
  • Metalwork 100%
  • Sculpture 100%
  • Furniture 100%