Karl Benjamin was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1925. He attended the University of Redlands and Claremont Graduate University. After graduating, Benjamin taught at an elementary school before pursuing art. Along with working in his studio, he continued to teach at public elementary and middle schools until 1977. He was a professor and artist-in-residence and Pomona College and Claremont Graduate School until 1994. His artwork has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He died in Pomona, California in 2012.