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Arland Ben

Posted on May 6, 2015 by Jason

Arland Ben Navajo Silversmith Arland Ben Navajo Silversmith
Navajo silversmith Arland Ben is a man of many worlds. He grew up in the Four Corners area, but would eventually head to California where he completed his junior and senior high school years, only returning home in the summers. After that would follow a college education in Utah. Then starting his part-time silversmith career. Along the way he'd compete in rodeos, wrestling, coaching, raise two boys and get some screen time in major Hollywood productions. Arland lives a full life and that is expressed through his art.
Perry Null Trading
Where did you grow up?
Arland Ben
I grew up everywhere. I attended elementary school in Blanding and Montezuma Creek, Utah. My middle school and high school years were in San Bernadino, California.
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How was that, going from the rural Four Corners to urban California?
Arland Ben
It was a culture shock. Overtime it was nice because I knew I would get a break from both.
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After high school what did you do?
Arland Ben
I attended Brigham Young University in Utah.
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What did you study?
Arland Ben
Well I wanted to be a doctor so I started in physics. Eventually I changed to fine arts, and that was a good choice.
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Is that when you started making jewelry?
Arland Ben Navajo Silversmith 14k Gold over Sterling Silver Buffalo Bracelet Arland Ben Navajo Silversmith 14k Gold over Sterling Silver Buffalo Bracelet
Arland Ben
No, we did a lot of painting and sculptor work.
Perry Null Trading
What did you like to paint, and did your work have Native American themes?
Arland Ben
I did a lot of portraits and some sculptor work, but it wasn’t Native American themed.
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So you finished school, when did you start making jewelry?
Arland Ben
I starting making jewelry in the late 1980s.
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Are you doing this fulltime?
Arland Ben
No, around the same time I started doing rehearsals for parts in movies
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How does this happen?
Arland Ben
Well I'm with a friend at the 1991 Gathering of Nations and this talent scout comes up to me and gets me an audition.
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Had you ever acted before?
Arland Ben
No.
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What kind of part did you audition for?
Arland Ben
It was for the character Uncas in the Last of the Mohicans. I was one of 10,000 actors who auditioned for the role and I made it to the final four.
Perry Null Trading
That is pretty impressive for your audition. How long does an audition like this last?
Arland Ben
From the beginning to the end took about a month. By the time it was winding down to the finalist I started to feel a bit more comfortable. I knew I wasn’t going to get the part, but it created an interest that I would pursue more.
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Was that the end of your association to the Last of the Mohicans?
Arland Ben
No, I was in the movie as part of the main Mohican tribe and did some stunt work.
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How did you like doing stunts?
Arland Ben
Last of the Mohicans changed the way action films were filmed. The close up action and killing that you see in today’s films began with that movie.
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What movie did you audition for next?
Arland Ben
I did auditions for Geronimo, Maverick and Buffalo Girls.
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Did you ever land a role?
Arland Ben
Yes. Back in 1993, I landed a role in the movie Maverick, but had to decline due to my son being born. After I started my family, I wanted to put movies on hold until my boys graduated from high school. My youngest son has two years left.
Perry Null Trading
So are you going to do movies again?
Arland Ben
I think it is something I might pursue again.
Perry Null Trading
So you've started a jewelry career and have done some acting, what about rodeo?
Arland Ben
I grew up riding horses and was always around rodeo. In the late 1990s I decided to try competitive saddle bronc riding. I was in my mid 30s when I started rodeo.
Perry Null Trading
You do some Hollywood movie stunt work and saddle bronc riding. Things that take a lot of athletic ability, where does this come from?
Arland Ben
I was a wrestler growing up and wrestled in college at BYU. My coach was Bill Henderson in California whose son is Dan Henderson.
Perry Null Trading
Wow, that is very impressive. Did you do anything after college with wresting?
Arland Ben
I helped coach in Moriarty for 25 years. Moriarty has produced National Champions and has been ranked as high as number four in the Nation.
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Do you do anything full-time?
Arland Ben
I like to try everything. I don’t want to just do one thing.
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What are you into now?
Arland Ben
Well as of lately I've been putting a lot of energy into photography. I just finished taking a series of photographs at this year’s Gathering of Nations. Lots of traditional Pow Wow Dancers.
Perry Null Trading
Where do you show these images?
Arland Ben Navajo Silversmith Photography Pow Wow Dancer 2015 Gathering of Nations Arland Ben Navajo Silversmith Photography Pow Wow Dancer 2015 Gathering of Nations
Arland Ben
You can check them out on my Facebook page.
Perry Null Trading
A lot is talked about your jewelry, what inspired you to do those petroglyph figures?
Arland Ben
Growing up in the Four Corners you always saw them on the rocks. They always interested me and I knew that one day I would do something with those figures.
Perry Null Trading
We are thankful that you decided to use them in your jewelry art. Thank you for your time.

Available art from: Ben, Arland

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