Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
My Next Solo Show opening soon:

Weltschmerz: Recent Drawings by Ben Tolman
Opening Reception: January 28th, 2017
On View: January 19 - February 25
Gallery Neptune & Brown
1530 14th Street, Washington DC
02.27.15 – 03.28.15

Opening Reception on Friday, February 27 from 6-8pm at Flashpoint Gallery.…
My upcoming solo show...

at the Fridge in Washington DC
May 3 - June 1, 2014

Opening Reception Sat. May 3 7:00pm - 11:00pm…
"beinArt Collective 2013" - Group Art Exhibition at Copro Gallery
Los Angeles, CA
November 9 at 8:00pm until November 30…

EMULSION East City Art Regional Juried Exhibition
Washington, DC
Saturday, November 9, 2013
7:00pm until 10:00pm…
My drawing, Suburbs, will be exhibited at at Conner Contemporary in DC
July 7-Aug. 18 2012:…
for those in the DC area...

My MFA thesis exhibition will be:

Katzen Art Center (at America University)
4400 Mass. Ave.
April 28th, 2012
6-9 pm…
For those near washington DC, I have a upcoming solo Show.

Opening Sept 10th 7pm-11pm.

The Fridge
516 8th Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Details to come.
My next drawing will be of an endless apartment building with the facade removed revealing the activities in the cubes inside. I'm basing it on real living spaces of people so you have the chance to be in the drawing by following the instructions here:…

thanks for the help!!
Been away from here for awhile.  Pretty busy with different things. In grad school now.

Pretty soon I will post my largest drawing yet, next couple weeks I should be done.

Group show in LA coming up.

Dystopia – beinArt Collective Group Exhibition

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 19th – 8:00 – 11:30 pm.
Exhibit Duration: March 19th – April 9th 2011.

Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Ave,
Unit T5, Santa Monica,
CA 90404, USA.

The Sketchbook Project
(showcasing my sketchbook and others from dc, along side a library of 20,000+ from the project)
April 11th-30th, 2011 Transformer Gallery, Washington DC

Just a few updates on what has been going on lately:

"Rhinoceros" Limited Edition Print

The limited edition "Rhinoceros" prints are now available!  Please visit the store at to purchase.

Open Studios 2010
The studios at 52 O St. NW Washington DC will be having our annual open studio event on April 24th and 25th from 11-5.  I'm in studio #305 - stop by if you're in the area!

Art Visionary Magazine has published a limited edition visionary art box set containing my contributions.  Please check it out here.

I am part of a new book published by nEgoist titled "Imagine the Imagination".  Please check it out here.

Thanks for your support!

For those that have been asking I will have limited edition prints of "Rhinoceros" on my website in a couple weeks. Stay tuned...
I have 4 new drawings in this show opening this weekend.
Here is a random selection of 50 songs on my playlist right now.
Not making in claims about the greatness of them or anything, just that I'm listening to them.

Song                            Artist                  Album

America      Laibach Volk
No wrong no right    Soundgarden Louder Than Love
Cure for Pain      Morphine Cure for Pain
Man in the long black coat BOB DYLAN Oh mercy
Tiny Meat         Ruby Salt Peter
Kingdom's Coming Bauhaus Burning From the Inside
Inertia Creeps Massive Attack Mezzanine
Makebelieve Prick Prick
Mountain Side The Flaming Lips In a Priest Driven Ambulance
I Love You In Your Tragic Beauty The Legendary Pink Dots Canta Mientras Puedas
Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here
Dieche (12" Mix) Sex Gang Children Dieche
A Daisy Chain 4 Satan My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult Confession of A Knife
Liar         Rollins Band Weight
Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox (Live) Rage Against The Machine Live & Rare
Gone! The Cure Galore
Rabbit In Your Headlights Radiohead Rabbit In Your Headlights
Tainted Love Coil Panic / Tainted Love
Ich Bin Ein Auslander Pop Will Eat Itself Dos Dedos Mis Amigos
Make It Rain Tom Waits Glitter and Doom
War Pimp Renaissance Lard Pure Chewing Satisfaction
Steel Trust Laibach
The Hero's Return       Pink Floyd The Final Cut (Remastered)
Sin City (KMFDM Remix) Genitorturers Machine Love
The Great Below Nine Inch Nails The Fragile (Left)
Better Than You Swans Various Failures (Red)
Candle         Skinny Puppy The Process
How's It Gonna End     Tom Waits Real Gone
Beijing         Dessau Dessau
The Future Leonard Cohen The Future
Man In Black Johnny Cash The Legend Of
Red Right Hand Nick Cave
Milk It Nirvana In Utero
Am I Demon Danzig Danzig
Day Of The Dead The Church Sometime Anywhere
How will I Laugh Tomorrow Suicidal Tendencies How Will I Laugh Tomorrow
Risen Blackmouth Blackmouth
Love's Secret Domain Coil Stolen and Contaminated Songs
Unsung         Helmet Meantime
Golgotha :wumpscut: Embryodead
The Fall         Ministry Filth Pig
No Fuck'n Prolem Suicidal Tendencies
Cat People David Bowie Inglourious Basterds
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt.1 The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Enchanted Thoughtfist Jello Biafra with the Melvins Sieg Howdy
White Rabbit Jefferson Airplane The Essential Jefferson Airplane
July        Chris Connelly Phenobarb Bambalam
Pleasures of the Flesh Killing Joke Pandemonium
The Pot         Tool 10,000 Days
Corporate Slave Snog Remote Control
Three Days         Jane's Addiction Ritual De Lo Habitual
(What A) Wonderful World The Flaming Lips In a Priest Driven Ambulance
I am not a surrealist. I am not a visionary artist. I am not a ...
The human mind is a patten recognition machine. Whatever we encounter in life we group it with what we find to be similar and bind it together inside a category which is itself inside a even larger category. Without this the world would be to cumbersome and difficult to understand. Another way to put this is we build a map of the world in our minds. The map is only as detailed as we need it to be for a given situation. It is not a accurate depiction of the world, ones needs to be careful not to confuse the map with the territory. So on the specific topic at hand, art, we group thing together in a way that make it possible for us to have a reasonable conversation, but we know that there is more complexity and exceptions that we leave out because language would become much too cumbersome otherwise. To this end one might say I am a surrealist, to explain that some of my work has a certain similarity to other work they have seen that has been previously categorized as such, as a convenient linguistic tool knowing that other works of mine to not fit this description at all etc. But I would never call myself a surrealist. I have many things I am interested in and draw from that sort of classification seems very limiting, and a little old fashion. In the past communication with groups outside your culture was limited, but now we are multi cultural, we can view culture from above and pick and choose what we like from the whole spectrum of human culture over time and global contemporary culture as well.  

This is different then groups of artists, the surrealists for example, there was a group of people in the early 20th century who officially named themselves surrealists as a organization with a set of specific parameters. These people you can say are surrealists, and that is the end of it.

Visionary Art is more difficult. I will just say first that I don't like the term. It seems very presumptuous. Most of the people I know who call themselves visionary artist's are anything but. They take an aesthetic which has developed over time and make it their own but with out any of the true visionary quality that you find in an artist like Blake. I doubt they have had a genuine visionary experience which they draw from to make their work. There are exceptions of course. On top of this "visionary" is a great word that is so abused. In mainstream culture it means someone who is ahead of their time, who made a leap into something new. In art it can mean many things. In the wider art culture it typically means folk art or untrained art or art by schizophrenics like you see in Visionary Art magazine or the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Then there is the other group of visionary artists which is the one I am really referring to. This group is probably best described in Laurence Caruana's visionary art manifesto.  Coming perhaps from Ernst Fuchs in the The Vienna School of Fantastic Realism and people who learned from him, but other wide ranging sources as well. And really picking up with the discovery of hallucinogens in which one can on their own have a genuine visionary experience not have to be a rare soul that has that spontaneous experience of oneness that would seem impossible if you didn't actually experience it yourself. Today popularized by the likes of Alex Grey, Vensoa and others it is a wide ranging subculture with different boundaries to different people. Most of what could be called genuine visionary art in this context comes from people who have had deep experiences with hallucinogens, many more people have not but like the aesthetic and that art often lacks authenticity. This is where I cross paths with this culture. I am very interested in thing that are on the edges of our ability to understand. I have been down the rabbit hole. I have been to the indescribable place outside of my body and even outside of time. Much stranger and more real then you can imagine. It changes you. This is not the stuff of casual lsd or mushrooms at a party. It goes much deeper then that.  A direct reliable journey to the hidden world. It is real, I am not bullshitting you the way your religion does. You don't have to believe me you can go there and see it for yourself. Instructions: Take one Colorado River Toad, rub it against a pane of glass, let the secretions dry, scrape it off with a razor blade. Repeat until you have enough. Smoke. You will never be the same. You will be back to normal after 5 minutes. There are many other ways to go down the rabbit hole DMT going the deepest. So that you could say is a genuine vision, I make art in response to it, and as such in that context I am perhaps a visionary artist. But I also make art in response to every other experience I have in life. Should there be names for all those thing too?

What I really make art in relationship to is my journey through life as an individual, my experiences and my reflexions on the rest of human culture. I think this is in a way what everyone does, but I try to take as wide a view as I can. The wider the perspective the better.
2010. This year seems like a turning point for me on a few different levels. An anniversary, a moment to be a little nostalgic.
I've just turned 30. This year will mark 10 years I've been in a relationship with Jana (the J is pronounced as a Y for you Americans)
But this is really about ten years of making art.

I first really decided that being an artist was what I wanted to do with my life 10 years ago. I've always been a constant doodler from but up to that point it was just for me, just in my sketchbooks that never left my side. I was told by someone I respected that to really master something takes 10 years of hard dedicated work. For some reason that stuck in my head, and I committed to it right then. Up until then I was always told that being an artist was something I couldn't do, it's not practical, you can't be successful, make money etc. So for a moment of weakness I decided as many others do that I would go to school fro graphic design instead of art as I really wanted to. After a couple semesters of community college graphic design I dropped out and decided to, for 10 years, work as hard I I could at what I really loved no matter what. I should say that at the time I really kind of sucked at it, I was no prodigy or anything like that, just a prolific doodler. Over the years I went to a fine art school to get my BFA. While I did gain from it, I still consider my self self taught. I learned more about what I dislike in the art world then anything about art making. All the while I kept the ten year thing in the back of my head always trying to make my new work better then my last work. Drawing everyday in all of my free time. What drives me is the timeless potential of art. I have no real interest in trends, money or fame. I just don't want to be forgotten in time. I want to communicate what it was like for me to be alive with the future, in a manner that is sublime enough for them to care. I don't know why I have that psychological need, but there it is. For me art, or what I am interested in in art, is about the journey of an individual traveling through the world. When everything is just right there is a certain deep intangible magical complexity in the communication between art and the viewer that is what I want to provide, only some will really know what I mean here. I'm not making decoration to go with your couch. I don't give a shit about fitting in any art movement narrative or any other art world bullshit. So far I feel good about my progress, but I have a long way to go. I don't plan to be an ink artist forever, painting is really what I'm after in the long run. So 10 years and now hear I am. Have I mastered art making? Hardly. Can I make money off it. No. I have a shitty day job just like you.  But I do feel successful, success has nothing to do with money. It is reaching your humanity.
My work is now on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC as part of their Portrait Competition .
There is a visitors choice category and you can vote for my work online.

Vote here:…

-only if you like mine the best of course ;)
I will be on the cover of the upcoming issue of Direct Art magazine and have a 6 page spread!
It should be out at the end of the month, get it at some bookstores or here:…

I will have a piece in the upcoming "Imagine the Imagination" book set for October-November release.
More info:…

My work can also be found in beinart's Metamorphosis: Volume 2 that's been out for a little while now.…

For those in the DC area I will have my drawing "The Theatre" up at the Corcoran's Alumni show in the gallery 31 space last week of September first half of October or so, not sure of the exact dates right now.

And finally, opening October 23 my drawing "Jana" will be up at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery for a full year with the other finalists as part of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. I also have a blog about my art on the site here:…

That's all for now.
I will be at Burning Man this year with my prints and posters. Any one else going look me up
It's my first time going, every other year I've tried something has come up.
Not this year!
Just got back from Europe a couple days ago. I got married on May 10 and have been in France and Spain with Jana since then. The amount and quality of art I saw on the trip was unbelievable. In paris we went to the Louvre, the Pompidou, the Gustave Moreau museum, also saw a William Blake exhibit. In Barcelona in addition to some amazing street art and Gaudi's amazing cathedral, a short train ride took us to Dali's Museum in Figueres. In Madrid we went to the Prado which has a whole room of Bosch paintings including my favorite painting in the world The Garden of Earthly Delights. Also Brueghel's masterpiece The Triumph of Death, and tons of Goya and El Greco. And one the way back I found out I'm going to be in the Smithsonian National Portrait Compitition's Exhibition in the Fall.
Annual Open Studio: April 25th-26th 2009: 52 O St. NW,  Washington, DC
11am to 5pm both days
see the flyer:…

Also: on  the oppisite coast:
April 11th "Draw" at the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco opens. I have one drawing in the show
see the flyer:…