art by benjamin harubin. text and art copyright benjamin harubin. posted in no particular order, from 1976 to the present. i have the capability to print the strictly digital works up to 40" with archival materials. some restrictions may apply.
contact email is bharubin provided by gmail with a com thrown in there for good measure. and a @, too.

click on pics to giganticize. dimensions are listed in order: horizontal, vertical, depth.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

bloodroot vision

"What I say, George, 3X is true"
"geometry of bloodroot vision"
31" x 25"
acrylic, marker, grease pencil on paper on canvas on plywood

this is like one of those time travel dreams where you look into the mirror and see that there's a hole in your head (in addition to the usual ones).  
when you look closer, you see that there is a supermarket inside and you're looking down into it from a very high ceiling.  the shelves are stocked with jars filled with sea slugs, which are mating, except they can't reach each other.        
they begin to penis fence with their own reflections in the glass.  
you realize that you must free them before they stab themselves to death, so you must find the valve that lets seawater in and then open all the jars, but there's a fierce wereweasel roaming the aisles, looking for anything to eat other than sea slugs, with their undulating excrescences filled with foul tasting irritants.  
just then, a glowing wormhole bubble appears above you, disgorging intelligent reptilian anteaters from earth's distant past that are seeking a decent cheeseburger.  The expanding bubble of scaly limbs pushes you down through a point that intersects the path of the charging wereweasel, especially the hard pointy bits that surround its stinking mouth hole...

speaking of alien technology,
we have it right here on earth, surrounding us.
the pace of scientific/mathematical/informational technology is growing ever faster.
there's more new understanding of physical laws and interactions (not to mention the gizmos on the shelf) than any one person can ever comprehend-
 and it's getting worse.
when you find a eyeball lying around in the woods, do you a) call the police, b) try to see what you can get for it in a pawn shop or c) look for its designer?
why do you need a creator person that during a boring week creates ad hoc knockoffs of itself?  where will it all end?  (what I'd like to know is when did it all begin- when we figure out what happened in the first x femtoseconds after the big bang, will that suffice? -or do we then have to find out how The Simulators implanted the evidence for a such a beginning?)  ...wait...

isn't the universe itself (including us mound builders) big and spooky enough?

do you really need government scientists reverse engineering crashed UFO's or secret interstellar treaties that stipulate the dissemination of "contact" propaganda to prepare the humans for subjugation?

not that I'm saying intelligent extraterrestrial contact has not or will not occur.
but maybe any intelligence evolving to galactic standards would basically have no interest in other species, realizing that true weirdness (and true wealth) surrounds all of us, everywhere, and that one could never exhaust the possibilities of existence in even a puddle.  if you were, like, god, why would you really mess around with the planets?

so what does this have to do with killing dragons?

especially rubber ones that propagate indiscriminately...?

and what does all that have to do with the painting?

oh yeah, i'm glad you asked about that.   this one is a type of extended automatic drawing.   it started life some years back as a kind of doodle done with magic marker on a large white paper shopping bag.  recently the drawing resurfaced, whereupon it was bonded to a canvas stretched on a plywood frame.  then i added color with acrylic paint and contours with china (grease) pencils.   with these tools, i used the neural procedure of pareidolia to bring shapes into focus.  so to speak.  give birth to monsters.
since the original paper was quite thin (a plain white shopping mall type bag) you can see (click to embigify) wrinkles that occurred when the paper was bonded to the canvas (with acrylic medium).  you can also see some faint bleeding from the old marker drawing.  all these "random" elements are one of my principle enjoyments in making art.  i see my role more as an explorer of a strange land than as an autocratic designer.  although it is in the tension between these two things (accident vs. design or meaning vs. raw sensory data) that things get interesting.  so when you kill dragons, birth is given to all sorts of dramatic characters (including more dragons) that live their own lives nearly apart from the central drama.

ach, i could go on...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Frankenstein Dancer Guardian in Progress

wood, metal, plastic  36" x 82" x 27"  2012
work in progress
part of a proposed series of Twelve Dancing Guardians
[shoppt onto image of mars]

Unlike the story of the artist chipping away at the stone, removing all that is not as he sees it, leaving the finished sculpture, I see the story of the artist more resoundingly portrayed by the  myth of Frankenstein.  This is especially and increasingly so in the present portion of the art historical timeline.  The artist digs up body parts (or hires professional thieves- art professors- to rob the graves of culture) and assembles them to create a new creature, which then has a life of it's own.  Culture is increasingly about culture (another way to say this is that culture, in it's increasing reiterativity, is becoming fuzzier, at finer and finer levels).
The spark that animates this clod-like collection of crap is, of course, the artistic impulse, but instead of "artistic vision", i.e., a pre-formed gift of the gods genuine homunculus, it's more like a neural pachinko game, i.e., a vortex of colliding memes and motifs and tropes.
What's new and unique lies in the sewing technique- the accidental (?) juxtaposition of body parts- which represents, duh,  the architecture of the individual brain, both of the human in question and also the somewhat larger individual brain of the collective brain that is increasingly interconnected via the interconnectatron.  Being personal and collective history and genetics.
It is interesting that the modern Prometheus, like the ancient one, was a thief.  The recognition that copying is a part of and indispensable for creating has emerged now that copy protection rackets are going into fascist overdrive.  Novelty is an emergent property of collections of brains emulating each other and riffing each other's wrinkles.

this plus life sized figure was conceived (however that may have happened) to be just one of a series of twelve Dancing Guardians.  It is part of a series I've had going in a larval stage for some time now: using toy lawn furniture and vehicles plus found branches and logs.

Eventually we will have fully animated versions (that can replicate themselves!) Unfortunately the project is on indefinite hold, pending  funding and a mandate from The Secret Brotherhood.  Even this (top) figure is unfinished.  Currently there are plans to install solar powered interactive light and sound elements.  Once all figures are completed they can be placed in an environment where they can interact with each other and emit sounds (have a robo concert).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Nil Dimension Jam

"Nil Dimension Jam"
digital collage  12.64" x 8" low version   2012
I ask myself "am I mad?" and I realize that the only way that that question can be meaningfully answered is by a certified professional who specializes in the treatment of madness (whatever they call them nowadays).  Since that judgement has not as yet occurred (or I would be writing this from a different place), I must ask myself why I should even ask myself that question.  Is it a monitoring device of my brain to ensure social functionality?  Does it function to ensure compliance with society at large so that I don't get put away?  Or is it because I believe in irrational, invisible things and that having those beliefs is somehow disturbing?

In the body, the maintenance of sanity is called homeostasis.  This concept only exists because there is disturbance (insanity), as in "this is fucking crazy, blood sugar is so low!!"  If you were a pancreas, would you not feel that life was frantic?  It's just one darn crisis after another.  That's how you tell that something is alive: things are moving; it keeps waffling from one position to another.

Is anyone 100% in their beliefs?  Even Jesus was tempted by the Devil.  When the pollster comes to your door and asks you a question, do you then not pause for a second and wait for your own internal pollster to tally the results from your population of neurons?

Also, the question becomes meaningless if it includes the belief in irrational, invisible things because you have to have a standard of normalcy (aside from YOU of course) to define it.  And if you take your own informal poll of people out there, you will discover rampant belief in all kinds of irrational, invisible things, like Goodness and Democracy and Truth and Justice and Juggalo Love and Invisible Pink Unicorns, and that the voices in your head are coming from God.

This whole game must have some function.  How useful are your beliefs?  I won't discount sheer entertainment value, of course.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


digital collage   11.91" x 8"   2012
while I'm waiting for the paint to dry on some things, here's another digital collage.  This one itself is a tribute to digital collage- in the broadest sense, where, in the future, everyone will be 15% machine.  Talking, listening, watching and being watched by- you guessed it...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Diggin' up Da Vinci

"Albert McLouds"
study for an environmental animation
digital collage  10.66" x 8"  2012

If you could bring Leonardo through the wormhole into the present
(he's all agog at your ipod)
would he have lived all these years?
Will he be prime Da Vinci?
What can a shadow know?
But No you want to go into the past and fuck around with it.
You want to tell him he's on the right track and give him the plans for internal combustion.
Send a message to the little boy
and change the present, improve your knowledge; rewrite history.
No really imagine you could have an actual time portal- and you went back and messed around
(which you would do simply by breathing).
You cannot go back (to the same future) because of that nasty thing you did to your great etc grandad.
If nothing else, your knowledge of events past would change the future (ah, the ever enfuzzinating many time branches).
But you would be the only one who knew that things were different.
No, really, in this other universe, you didn't have a beard!
Even you, the traveler, might forget that things had been any different (on account of it would be just too fuckin weird- the cognitive dissonance would feel too distressful, akin to paranoid schizophrenia- having multiple versions of reality competing for dominance).
In order to repair cognitive functioning your brain maybe would self enforce a healing of the rift.
Maybe you would begin to doubt that you had ever traveled into the past at all.
You know, that "time machine" did look a little like a closet lined with aluminum foil, LED's and speakers stuck all over the walls.
...and that special "wormhole suit" was a mite absurd...  

Thursday, September 13, 2012


collage on wood with pencil and screws  7" x 8.5" x 2"  2012
This piece had to be repaired recently due to an adhesive failure, and may have been altered slightly.  It originally was from the 'two hour series' back in 2010 (to each work I devoted 2 hours time- approximately).   So there you have the 2012 date.  It was the only collage in the series, but otherwise similar- the slab on base, simple or central subjects and outlines.  I feel this has a certain identification with the stream of modern cartoon inspired/infused art-   In the Democratic Republic of Web, any and every cultural era is currently in resurgence.  Ho hum.  Dynamo hum.  This shit is post- apocalyptic.  It's all upside down.  The low, the high,   the hum.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gas Giants

"Gas Giants"
digital collage  11" x 8"  2012
folks who have got their immediate material needs covered-
who have leisure time-
can spend that time in idle entertainments-
can rest and dream.
Dream and sort patterns and make fit with disparate elements- the night brain knows no bounds of stupidity- all is fair game.
And what is remembered is what is remembered again and again.
Alignments with waking input re- members the member of the set of things seen.
With enough members the neural pathway persists and becomes belief.
A strong experience (also called a vision) can create a lasting trace in a short time, while weaker reinforcements repeated over time also make their marks.
From the teeny ephemeral notion motions of mundane experience to the coronal mass ejections of ecstatic vision is the common fluid geometry of dreaming mind.

Sometime when the autoscanner is robofucking you, remember the tune to "bicycle built for two" and smile mischievously.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012


digital collage  11.59" x 7.09"  2012

the great thing about Surrealism is (ants aside) that if you start seriously asking the question "why is there a watermelon (or side of beef) there?" there will be no shortage of answers.  You can begin to take a mental journey starting inside your underwear and continuing into outer space.

"Ain't you a wee bit too old to be believin' in Leprechauns now, laddie?"

And also Surrealism has lived on since the 1930's, only becoming more pervasive and insidious.  It could even be argued that instead of being merely a symptom, Surrealism caused the collapse of society that we see today.  What further corruption of our precious bodily fluids are Skittles ads perpetrating now?  -and speaking of underwear, have you noticed how much there is?

to get what is going on with this picture, imagine that each one of those kitties is one of those California Mystery Booms: “Boom, boom, boom, boom just like that”  just keep doing that.  put it on your wallpaper.  

Monday, September 3, 2012


digital collage  8.8" x 11"  2012 the physical rearrangement of patterns, and creating (or discovering) new patterns.
The patterns themselves are both physical, i.e., the atomic structure of clay, and informational, i.e., the Madonna's breast and also the arrangement of bits in the machine that displays Her breast.

In this way a chemist is an artist.

The commonality of science, art, music, speech and writing is in this shuffling of patterns.

What enables these activities is the non-stop operation of the brain.  These neural operations can be seen in everyday (and night) experiences.  The brain orders the sensory input in various pattern manipulation modules.  Ordinary waking visual experience is composed of a vast cutting and pasting and pattern fitting production.  It's how you recognize faces or can name colors.  There's a brain app for that.  What delights (and disturbs) us about dreams (or cutting edge artworks) is their creative, surprising nature.  It's a pattern mash.  These processes can be seen more nakedly in dreams, hallucinations, visions, and in pareidolia (seeing faces in clouds, e.g.)  They can be seen in your life in the form of memories, aspirations, fears and convictions.   Your brain writes the environmental script.
An artist is a dreamer attempting to control the dream, or to wake up.
But wake up to what?
Ordinary attention is a dream- of another order.
She blinded me with Science.
Central to attention is the ability to discard the irrelevant, but if we could witness our own internal creative processes, we would be bewildered by their complexity.  The artist is the one who attempts to pay attention to the cognitive dissonances of our scene-building machinery, and say "look here, a new pattern!"
Pump it, Baby.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sonic Serpent

"Sonic Serpent"
found objects, acrylic, pencil  11" x 5" x 1"  2012

This is part of a series that I'm doing (an ongoing, multi-decade long project).  The finding of figures in ordinary objects is the primordial creative act.  Before artist took ocher to cave walls, faces were seen in clouds, trees, etc (pareidolia).  Before God was named, occasionally the feeling arose that otherwise ordinary, random events could be interpreted as having direct personal numinous significance (paranoia).  Play (and art) opens that primordial neurological channel of bidirectional energies.  Here be a Serpent, showing the Seven Stages.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

meatwad resurrection

"meatwad resurrection"
acrylic, marker, found materials  28" x 33" x 6"  2008- 2012

I prefer to explore subjects based upon reality, and not shamelessly stolen from the minds of other people.
I only paint that which has independent existence- such as these boys from New Jersey
(2 of whom are not visible at this resolution)

Meatwad was found embedded in the trunk of an ailing (indigestion?) tree -he had severe trauma present in the cranial region-
this does not seem to have impacted cerebral functioning (if any).

In the future, everything will be numinous for 15 breath cycles.

If I could imagine a better future for Meatwad, He would be resplendent upon a raised platform, with many friends, in a beautiful forest of strange animal plants.  Meatwad of all, be He thrice blessed!!  Foolish wad of meat transforms into most (mostly) anything- was He ever there?  Did you treat Him kindly?  Meatwad is back!!  Meatwad will always be here!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

functional dream generator

"functional dream generator"
14" x 15" x 4"  acrylic on terry cloth on wood  2012

ventral oblique view

-harnesses the power of pareidolia

-assists neural growth factors

-assists wish fulfillment

-uses readily available power source with high efficiency

-millions of permutations

-educational and entertaining

-works even while you sleep

-medically safe

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

if everyone were happy?

"Liberty Future" (detail)

"Liberty Future"
acrylic, pencil on wood 28" x 36" (incl. frame) 2012

fear/pain based motivation vs. intellectual (curiosity) based motivation:
which insures maximum chance of survival for longest possible period?

or is it necessary for there to be two groups (the unhappy and the happy) in a given population for the most robust culture to emerge?

where would you rather live?  and you with all your goodies, are you free from fear?

in the future the game may be quite different.

there may be hope that mankind can grow up!  
basically, it's this:  we're at a technological/economic transition point- essentially we have solved the problem of survival and growth of the human species- technologically it could be done- everyone could be fed and and doctored to lead exciting happy and fulfilling lives (at the present world population level and beyond).  
Warlord mentality however insists that the time-honored practice of theft and enslavement is still working (for them).  Wars, though, are becoming less profitable- in the sense that invasion and occupation of territory provides booty- (although it still is profitable as entertainment and an opportunity to sell weaponry (but your consumers can only consume so much, and then you have to consume the consumers (hey, hey, U.S.A.))).  So what do you do to keep swimming in your pile of imaginary  guilders (insert supercut of Scrooge McDuck diving in gold coins here)?   SPACE!!  SPACE WARS!!  Maybe we need some Aliens to menace us.  

   the more recently trending yet ancient alternate trend of positive sum games, i.e., free commerce and innovation (see Steven Pinker- Better Angels of Our Nature) coupled with robust infrastructure and education and basic humanist principles maybe can does balance the self-destructive insanity of paranoid Greed?

Perhaps the Galactic Watchers residing at the center of the Milky Way will send us some local thuggish dupe aliens to harrow us just enough to push us to the next frontier and get over this petty bickering and imaginary scarcity.  (I'm convinced that the only reason we haven't discovered extraterrestrial intelligences yet is because THEY don't want us to.  Probably waiting till we're REALLY fat and juicy before they consume us.  

science, art

"red dog activates neuralizer on a green cloud"
acrylic on carpet on wood  12" x 12 1/4"  2012

science relies upon communication.
communication is the essence of science.
-the process of verification- an essential part of science- relies upon the communication of data with minimal error.
-it relies upon the reproducibility of communication.
the experimental method must be exactly communicable so that results can be reproduced many times by different people.
-only then can it be said that the theory "holds water".

this methodology goes hand in hand (down history's lanes) with the related field of technology and manufacturing.
tech of all kinds not only relies upon communication, but produces, in the consumers, ever greater ties with an information/transportation network.
we are building a robust system composed of individual units (human beings) that have many and redundant and increasing forms of communication between them.
-to build a greater consensus-
-this all forms an increasingly complex intercellular matrix between people.
-this in turn forms the part of the body of a larger organism.
indeed all of our environment- all life and everything on earth- is becoming increasingly connected in a single web.

a "goal" of these processes is to strengthen survival advantage.  to discover patterns in nature (science) and to exploit those patterns using technology.

Science, Religion and Art are all on the same spectrum of the dreaming mind.
the discoveries of Science are revelations in the Religion of the Real.
Art is a Gnosis.
Religion and Art will continue to incorporate Science and Technology in its growth.

increasingly, dreams, religion, art, politics and the creative processes of society in general are becoming the subject of scientific study using the expanding toolset of evolutionary biology.
eventually, the subjective (experience) will meet the objective (consensus) through the action of artist/magicians from one end and cognitive neuroscientists and evolutionary psychologists from the other end.

Friday, August 17, 2012


acrylic and found materials
22" x 18" x 6"  
benjamin harubin 2012

I love trash.  I love the messy blights that inevitably intrude upon the overly air-conditioned, paved and scented consumerist constructs that pass for human environments in the developed world.  There the lessons lie for future evolution.  It is only when we design whole systems, economically and socially, allowing for the chaotic and "irrational", and all views and lifestyles that we as a species will live long and prosper.   So the mistakes and injustices of our world, the cracks in the concrete, point to the work that needs to be done.  Naturally, poets and madmen are drawn to the morbid at the same time that they are idealists.

So too, in creative practice, "found art", i.e., trash, is the gateway for inspiration, revealing all the intricate messy dynamics of the whole organism.  "It came to me in a dream, doc.'re the one with all the dirty pictures."  

Looked at from the viewpoint of "art imitating life", the visible work is forever incomplete; a section of a section- lacking in several dimensions.  It is up to the Eye to complete the work.