Junk Blessing / Recent Works by Jack Bender
Jack Bender is a lifetime painter and all-around creative force who brings a unique vision
to the canvas. He uses painting as a storytelling medium where he explores the
intersection of spirituality, pop-culture, and contemporary American politics in ways that
are both intellectually provocative and visually stimulating. His works are intensely
personal and raw.
Jack Bender grew up in Los Angeles climbing roofs in his neighborhood near the Farmers
Market on 3rd and Fairfax, going from house to house without ever having to touch the
ground. To him it was a “southern California Chagall dream.”
Since an early age, Jack drew everything. Grabbing hold of a crayon was, for him, like
the ape grabbing the bone/weapon in Kubrick’s “2001.” It was survival. At the age of
eleven, his mother gave him a box of oil paints and he remembers the joy he got from
moving the paint around and creating two-dimensional worlds that opened up in threedimensional
ways for people to look at and step into.
In junior high school, Bender recalls riding his bike to Paramount studios, sneaking in
through the guard gate, and hanging out on movie sets. He was completely captivated by
the world of lights, cameras, actors, and make-believe. In fact, when he began to visit
other cities they always reminded him of either the backlot of a studio or Disneyland. The
fantasy world was what was real to him.
He began studying life drawing at the age of 14 with Famed California painter, Martin
Lubner who had a studio on La Cienega. He was taken with Edward Keinholtz and the
controversy his work caused. Bender would cruise through the alleyways and find
discarded treasures, old doors, and metal objects, and bring them home to mount on wood
and then paint.
After studying Fine Art, Drama, and Cinema at the University of Southern California,
Bender began in the 1970s to build a career in television, becoming one of the most
celebrated director-producers of primetime TV. His television work has included Lost,
Alias, The Sopranos, Felicity, and many others. Under Bender’s direction, Lost won best
show at the 57th Annual Emmy Awards and also the Golden Globe. He most recent;ly
has executive produced and directed the CBS worldwide hit “UNDER THE DOME”. He
painted the iconic pieces used in the first season.
Whenever he is not working on one of his shows, he is painting at his home studio in Los
Angeles. He says he lives by Bob Dylan’s words ‘He not busy bein’ born is busy dyin.’
The greatest recent addition to his life and art has been his wife, Laura Owens, becoming
a Rabbi and opening him up to our stunningly rich heritage.