Ben Timpson

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Benjamin Timpson’s moving portraits honor victims of violence while drawing attention to the number of indigenous women who are missing or murdered each year. To create his iconic imagery, he meticulously crafts each visage from ethically-sourced butterfly wings cut to scale over a rough sketch on a light table.

Early Life and Education

Benjamin Timpson, as a descendent of Pueblo Indian Tribes, embraces nature’s spirituality. In his project Metamorphosis, Benjamin explores this sentiment by using butterfly wings to construct portraits of missing or murdered Native American women with butterfly wings as an homage to their beauty, hope and change that represent. Furthermore, this project highlights disproportionate violence experienced by Indigenous women throughout America.

Timpson works in his home studio using hand-cut, ethically-sourced butterfly wings to craft beautiful portraits that bring awareness about missing or murdered Indigenous women. To gain the proper context for each work he conducts research on victims as well as meeting with family members to explain its significance.

He works on his portraits using 13-minute cycles of illumination, allowing microscopic wing structures to reveal dramatic shifts in color and iridescence. These portraits remind viewers of the urgency of issues while offering moments of healing for viewers.

Professional Career

Benjamin Timpson specializes in multidisciplinary mediums such as photography, painting and sculpture. As a Yale-Smithsonian Poynter Fellow he has exhibited his work both domestically and internationally and currently serves as Photography and New Media Studio Coordinator at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village Colorado.

His radiant portraits are created using butterfly wings, each persona is depicted through mysterious patterns and rich interplay of color and iridescence. His delicate biological relics are responsibly sourced, disassembled according to their distinctive markings, then pieced over his rough sketch on a light box.

Rugby has long been one of his passions since he first experienced it through semi-professional career in his youth. Now combining it with art he brings an exceptional knowledge base to each project, which has seen his work featured at major galleries and museums around the country.

Achievement and Honors

Benjamin Timpson of Tempe has painted an incomplete portrait of Rhia on a small table near delicate butterfly wings in his home studio as part of his Metamorphosis series aimed at raising awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women across America.

This work employs the iridescent beauty of butterfly wings as a metaphor for transformation across cultures, including honoring women who have experienced violence against themselves or their rights being denied due to discriminatory legislation. Each piece comprises between 2000 and 10,000 cut-up butterfly wings which represent strength among victims of violence against them.

These artworks are backlit to emphasize their power and impact, with an artist from Puebloan peoples drawing inspiration for his portraits from those images because of how they convey how much damage occurs when daughters and matriarchs of a community are victimized by violence while at the same time portraying their grace, strength, and individuality.

Personal Life

Timpson works mornings in his quiet and orderly studio, filled with art books on shelves throughout. Portraiture takes over one year for each to be completed; Timpson draws inspiration from Andy Goldsworthy, Gustav Klimt, Saul Leiter and Georgia O’Keeffe to name but a few artists whose sculptural pieces inspire him.

His most recent works explore social and political issues. For Daily Head Transplant, he printed still photographs of himself onto acrylic sheets as an allusion to how much information we take in.

He is currently working on a project which features portraits of women who have experienced sexual or domestic violence, entitled after their names, constructed with butterfly wings and illuminated to evoke metamorphosis and hope. All proceeds from sales of artworks go directly to Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition.

Net Worth

Bennie Macpherson was best-known for his roles on television series including A River Runs Through It, Twelve O’Clock High, Gunsmoke and Cheers as well as movies such as The Boys Next Door and Steel Magnolias.

Professor of Photography at Arizona State University and Yale-Smithsonian Poynter Fellow. His works have been displayed both locally and abroad.

Sir John and Alex Timpson dreamed of an extravagant retirement together: traveling the globe without regard for expense or limits on budget. With assets valued at more than PS150 million in their family business, this could happen. What truly liberated them, however, was being free from commitments to any particular place or company.

Ben Timpson
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