Artist-activist Jumper Maybach, aka Ben Workman, is not clowning around
His first art exhibition, held in his hometown of Houston in February 2013, led to an improbable invitation to exhibit at Art Dubai — the preeminent contemporary art fair in the Middle East — the very next month.
A connection at Art Dubai led to an exhibition in Barcelona. And then France. And then the Netherlands.
Life for LGBT artist and activist Jumper Maybach these past five years has been like that.
Five years earlier, before Jumper Maybach, he was just Ben Workman. Workman didn’t paint. He’d worked at Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center since 1983 and built a successful career as a systems administrator.
But in a workplace where, at that time, open hostility and overt sexual harassment were constant and outrageous, Workman endured for years before filing suit against his employer, the Veteran’s Administration.
Although he prevailed in court, he said the offensive culture at his job persisted.
Driven to despair after a lifetime of bullying, Workman turned to prayer.
“I couldn’t take being bullied anymore and went into a deep prayer,” he said. “I heard what I consider was God’s voice telling me to be Jumper the Clown and to create art as a way to reach people — to end their hate and intolerances.”