By DeAnn Lubell

Photo credit: (All photos by Ben Allanoff)

One doesn’t always need canvas and a paintbrush to be an outstanding artist.  Sometimes plant material, steel, and randomly found objects can form masterpieces.  Thus is the case of talented hi-desert artist, Ben Allanoff.  His large scale temporary and permanent installations relating primarily to the natural world engages the public as participants.

“As a self-taught artist,” said Ben, “I am a strong believer in breaking down barriers between artist and non-artist, as well as outsider, and officially sanctioned artist.  Even between what is considered art and not-art.”


Allanoff grew up near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Duke University before moving to Los Angeles.  Prior to his career as a visual artist, he worked in film and television, and ran a community-based non-profit devoted to minimizing the negative impacts of human activity on sensitive habitats in and around Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles County.

Since 2017 Allanoff has lived in Joshua Tree, where he is artist-in-residence at the Simi Dabah Sculpture Foundation. The Foundation is open to the public on Saturdays from 9-4.  Admission is free to all and visitors are welcome to explore the 8 acre sculpture park where steel sculptures by Simi Dabah , and smaller pieces by Allanoff, are offered for sale.

“I am inspired by a deep appreciation for the miraculous persistence, diversity, and beauty of living things,” said Ben.  “Much of my work grows out of a desire to catalyze connections – among people, between humans and the rest of the natural world, and between our rational minds and less frequently accessed corners of our consciousness.”

To find out more about Ben Allanoff, his art, and the Simi Dabah Sculpture Foundation please go to