Ben Steele

Ben Steele
Swell Dairy
30″ x 20″
Oil on Canvas

I am excited about the American Crossroads theme because I think our local region is at a major crossroads. The San Rafael Swell became the perfect metaphor for much of Utah because it is a place on the rise of discovery yet still enjoys some anonymity and isolation compared to so many other places. I find myself at that same crossroad as Helper grows, torn between the excitement that new opportunity brings while mourning a loss of solitude that has shaped me as an artist.

My Swell Dairy milk carton is a throw-back homage, both to the very old geological history of the area, as well as to the ‘swell’ area we find ourselves in. San Rafael’s ‘Overlook Wedge’ is showcased in the background, with references to the Buckhorn Wash pictograph panels and other San Rafael Swell landmarks throughout the carton labeling. While I always hope that my art can bring a smile and a laugh, I also want to offer another layer of insight in the work: the need to be responsible stewards of these timeless areas as we indulge in all Utah’s stunning landscapes have to offer.