Gertrude Stein Questionnaire: Ben Marcin & Lynn Marcin

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Introduction: Just for the record, this is the first EVER Gertrude Stein Questionnaire completed by a couple! And it’s adorable. Lynn and Ben are both based here in Baltimore and work in the arts in varying capacities. Ben is a photographer who has recently garnered lots of international media attention for his “Last House Standing” series. If you are interested in seeing more of his work, he is opening a solo show at the C. Grimaldis Gallery on Wednesday, December 18! Lynn is a Fine Art Insurance broker and serves as part of the FOMACA (Friends of Modern and Contemporary Art) Board at the Baltimore Museum of Art. This interview tells the story of their meeting (in an art gallery!) and building a life together in small bits and pieces that tie together into something very special. Ben and Lynn Marcin are talented, caring, and fascinating people and they are both making things happen within Baltimore arts community and beyond.  – Cara Ober

Lynn Marcin Bio: MICA undergraduate 1981 Photography / 2007 Interior Design certificate. 12 years in the fine art gallery business (Dalsheimer Gallery / Gomez Gallery) and 20 years in the fine art insurance brokerage business.

Ben Marcin Bio: I was born in Augsburg, Germany. My mother is German, from Berlin; my father was Polish. Both of my parents grew up with WWII going full tilt around them. I have lived permanently in the United States since I was ten and in Baltimore since 1978. I started photography late, buying my first camera on sale at Sears when I was twenty-seven. I met my future wife, Lynn, in 1990 when I walked into the former Gomez Gallery holding a page of Kodachrome slides. I don’t know if I was more excited about the gallery accepting my slides or meeting the very attractive curator. I had three shows at Gomez before the gallery closed at the end of 2003. I am currently represented by the C. Grimaldis Gallery on Charles Street. Ben Marcin’s website:

Lynn – Fine Art Insurance Broker
Ben – Senior Software Developer, Photographer

Baltimore Neighborhood: Bolton Hill.
Ben – We live in Bolton Hill which is a very diverse neighborhood a couple miles northwest of the harbor and quintessentially Baltimorean. The majority of the row houses located here were built shortly after the civil war ended. I first moved into the neighborhood in 1989. I had a studio apartment for seven years in the 1200 hundred block of Bolton Street. I put together my first Cibachrome darkroom in the bedroom. I remember walking Jack Wilgus over from MICA to check the place out and give me tips on getting started. After Lynn and I married, we bought a beautiful rowhouse on the upper end of Park Avenue. It had been built in 1880 and was in excellent condition. Lynn has a wonderful talent for interior design and it’s been a privilege to live in the space that she put together.

Obsessive Collections:
Lynn- Art and Books
Ben- Music CDs. I have bookcases and shoeboxes full of CDs. Currently queued on my CD player is the piano music of John Buckley (Ireland) and Charles Hayward’s post-This Heat band, Camberwell Now.

Currently Reading:
Lynn- “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel
Ben- The New Yorker; John McPhee’s “Annals of the Former World”

Coolest Place You’ve Ever Been:
Lynn- Paris, London, Rome, Vienna, Florence, Barcelona (basically any large European city).
Ben- The Mayan Nation in the highlands of Guatemala (twice).

Hobbies or Leisure Activities:
Lynn- Art, yoga, movies, cooking (for Ben)
Ben- Hiking. My first hike started from the kitchen door of my family’s house. I cut across a cornfield, jumped over the railroad tracks, went through some woods and walked into town where I asked a traffic cop to get my Dad. I was four years old, out of gas and in big trouble. I have completed over 5600 hikes since then, the great majority of them in the woods and farms around Baltimore.

Favorite Food to Eat at Home:
Lynn- Ben’s spicy pepper steak.
Ben- Anything Lynn makes.

Favorite Food to Eat Out:
Lynn- Linwood’s restaurant in Owings Mill; martini and filet mignon topped with a slice of roquefort cheese
Ben- Linwood’s, anything on the menu.

Favorite Beverage of Choice: 
Lynn- Ice tea with wine on the side
Ben- Snake Dog IPA; my own home-made IPA

Political Leanings: 
Lynn- Way over on the left. (I care about people).
Ben- I am a conservative Democrat.

Favorite Baltimore spot to hang out: “b” in Bolton Hill; Big Matties in Federal Hill and, for special occasions, Linwoods (Ben likes Brewers Art too because of the BEER!).

Pets: We have two red tabbies, Tiger and Pepe. Both showed up as strays ten years apart and they have been a joy to have around the house. Both are spoiled brats.

Favorite Artist, Living or Dead:
Lynn- Ben Marcin
Ben- Emil Nolde (German, 1867-1956). Specifically, his landscape watercolors. He changed everything about how I look at art.

Movie that Sums Up the Current State of Your Life:
Lynn- “Putty Hill;” it captures the sense that most days are uneventful but, occasionally, something really great or tragic happens that changes your life.
Ben- “The Bourne Identity”

Favorite Bad Habit:
Lynn: sitting around and doing nothing (that happens about two days each year).
Ben: Hiking in the woods at all costs. The crappier the weather, the better my chances are of not getting shot at. I am expecting a family intervention at any time.

Mantra or Favorite Quote:
Lynn- “Give more than you take.”
Ben- “After all was said and done… more was said than done.”

Photo Collage:
“Bauernhof in der Marsch” – Emil Nolde, 1935 (Lynn’s Pick)
“Camden, NJ” – Ben Marcin
“Baltimore, MD” – Ben Marcin
Ben in Turkey with Large Format Camera

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