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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Everyday disasters brought to life

People deal with break-ups in many different ways. Some write about it, some cry about it and some just grab an ax and hack away.

Artist Ben Jackel chose to grab an ax after breaking up with his then girlfriend. Little did he know that incorporating such an object to his artwork would be one of his signature trademarks.

Jackel’s work was on display last Thursday during the Artist in Residence opening night. This event started in 1972 and has since held the art of countless emerging artists. Using materials such as wood and clay, Jackel glorifies the objects that save lives but stay hidden until tragedy strikes.

“I was in graduate school. I had broken up with a girlfriend and had a piece of wood. The first piece I made was purely in response to that,” Jackel said.

Ben Jackel, standing next to one of his pieces. Photo credit: Mathew Flores

He creates magnificent art using true materials. In a video that was showcased during the exhibit shows Jackel using a variety of tools to finish a drone made from wood. Instead of painting the drone to give it color, he used graphite and rubbed it in with his hands.

Almost everything that he has crafted interprets significant disaster objects from major historical events. He focuses on events that have occurred rather than creating something from imagination.

“Some of this work came after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and it flooded the city. I heard interviews of people giving stories of survival and how they needed a can of gas and a bag of ice. I just really started thinking about these important objects that we need to survive,” Jackel said.

To keep things interesting, he says that he works on up to 10 pieces at a time. The clay takes awhile to dry so while he finishes adding one detail to a sculpture, he can begin or finish something else.

Since he started creating pieces at such a young age, Jackel has developed a stunning technique that leaves the viewer’s eye aching to see more.

People are captivated by the beautiful disasters. Photo credit: Mathew Flores

It is irony at its finest, leaving people wanting his beautiful artwork that’s copied after horrible weaponry made to kill. He brings to sight what people don’t always like to see, yet they are so beautifully crafted that people can’t seem to turn away.

You can find his work in The Art Gallery, Room 1004 or online at

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