Friday, February 2, 2024

What can fine art do for bonsai? Sculptor Benjamin Keating pontificates. Ep26

 I. Episode Summary & Links

            In today's episode, Kevin and Benjamin Keating discuss his history in art and how he got into bonsai, challenges associated with displaying bonsai in art galleries for long periods, Ben's bonsai + metal marriage projects in progress, and what to look forward to from Ben's art!

The video version is available here (follow along to see Ben's trees in development during the garden tour):

The podcast version is available here.

Guest Info:

Benjamin is an artist specializing in metal sculptures and now he is exploring ways to combine that skill set into bonsai including using metal sculptures as containers, incorporating sculptures into the tree, and even branching into commercial production of Raku-style bonsai pottery. The first 50 of his new line of large Raku-style pots are available on an invitation-only basis. Contact him through his social media or website to apply with a picture of your tree!

Sponsor Info: 

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Support the Pod:

Anytime you listen, subscribe, rate us, or share us with friends you help keep us motivated to keep making episodes for you all! If you want to take it to the next level, you can also help keep the podcast going by donating to us through Spotify or by sponsoring an episode (contact us directly for that). All donations go back into the podcast such as for our web hosting, recording gear expenses, etc. Even $1/month would be a great help!


More pictures of Ben's work are below.

II. Show Notes / Pictures

            A few pictures of Ben's work in bonsai and metal sculpting are included below, but are by no means a complete picture of his skill! I highly suggest checking out the YouTube version of this interview linked at the top of the page to see the garden tour (first half of the interview) with Ben's bonsai/metal sculpting projects in progress to see more behind the scenes on what we may see his work grow into in the future.

Also, some people may be interested to see that Ben was featured in the New Yorker magazine, but a subscription may be required to read the full article. See it here.

All images featured here are sourced from Ben's website.

A. Benjamin Keating's Bonsai / Sculptures from his 2022 show at Tripoli Gallery

Some type of pine. Metal can be used both in making stands, containers, or incorporating into the canopies as you will see in different examples of Ben's work here.

Possible ponderosa pine.

Likely ponderosa pine.

Some type of larch.

Ponderosa pine.

B. Ben's Metal-only sculptures.

One of Ben's metal sculptures from his Salon on the Lawn 2018 exhibit at Longwood Gardens.

One of Ben's metal sculptures from a 2017 exhibit.

D. Other metal sculptures and potential bonsai pots from Ben

    The following pictures were provided by Benjamin Keating. I don't know the occasion each piece was made for though. If you are curious, I suggest trying to ask him on his social media or through his website.

Looks like a juniper in a pot which doubles as a display stand. The ability for this to be balanced is impressive!

Another pot and display stand combination sculpture.

I believe this is also a potential pot or accent pot. Picture 1/3 of the same sculpture.

I believe this is also a potential pot or accent pot. Picture 2/3 of the same sculpture.

I believe this is also a potential pot or accent pot. Picture 3/3 of the same sculpture.

Another Ben Keating sculpture.

An interesting rock and metal fusion by the looks of it.

III. Episode Credits

Podcast Info:

The Bonsai Time Podcast is hosted, edited, & produced by Kevin Faris, Ryan Huston, & Kelly Lui. Learn more about the podcast at the links below. We expect to post new interviews and reflections monthly!

Your hosts can be found below:

Music by MIDICANCER. Find more music by them at the links below.

More Bonsai Projects by Ryan:

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