Quilting is a time-honored craft that uses scraps of fabric to form a pieced-together image. The designs are often geometric patterns or more complex images that have been appliqued onto the textile. Artist Ben Venom works in this well-known realm, but instead of adhering to tradition, he creates quilts that are beyond your typical subject matter. Venom takes heavy metal and motorcycle t-shirts, cuts them up, and fashions them into spectacular handmade pieces. He writes about it in a short artist statement:
I’m interested in juxtaposing traditional handmade crafts with extreme elements found on the fringes of society. My work can be described as opposing forces colliding at lightening speed. Imagery found in vintage tattoos, the occult, and motorcycle gangs are stitched together with recycled materials using techniques usually relegated to your Grandmothers sewing circle. Serious, yet attempting to take on a B movie Horror film style where ridiculousness becomes genius. The question remains… Can I play with madness? (Via Boooooom)
This weekend on Beautiful Decay we want to welcome you over to the dark side, where a vast amount of artists are churning out contemporary art fueled by the fire of Metal. A multitude of artists these days are making art inspired by the crushing sounds and dark spirit of Heavy Metal, Death Metal and Doom music, all of which weave in and out of several other genres.
I’ve been a huge fan for a while now of the work made by artists Skinner, Ben Venom and Martin Durazo, which are strongly informed by Heavy Metal. This past week after chatting with artist and Beautiful Decay owner, Amir H. Fallah and artist Skinner and reaching out on Facebook to learn more about artists tied into this music scene, I was turned onto a breadth of incredible artists. A lot of artists working with metal as inspiration have strong crossover into design and illustration, album art, posters (especially for the band Mastadon), band merch and murals. There’s also a strong genre of work that explores dark spiritual matter, mythology and death that is absolutely captivating. You can expect upcoming coverage of these sub-genres in coming weeks.
Ben Venom’s current solo show at Guerrero gallery in San Francisco looks amazing. If you’re in the Bay Area make sure check the only art show that both headbanging heshers as well as your 80 year old grandma will enjoy.
“Guerrero Gallery is pleased to present, I Call The Shots, an exhibition of new works by Ben Venom. Presenting a reinterpretation of two seemingly opposing forces, the extremes of Heavy Metal culture and the tradition of handmade craft, Venomʼs juxtaposition of the two forces results in a collision that is vibrant and intricate. His ability to associate each component of his primary medium, old band t-shirts which he personally connects with in some way or another, with the grand scheme of his pieces, is evidence of the thoughtful and enduring process behind his craft. Venomʼs work lends to his ability to masterfully develop relevant concepts, sketch the designs in consideration of the large-scale puzzle piece patterns they will evolve into, and then patiently execute with needle and thread. In Venomʼs words, his work “is serious, yet attempts to take on a B movie Horror film style, where even the beasts of Metal need a warm blanket to sleep with.”
For those of you in the Bay Area, Guerrero Gallery is having a group show of awesome artist featuring AJ Fosik, Ben Venom, and Erin Riley. With a focus on traditional craft, a seemingly almost extinct skill in today’s highly digitized world, this exhibition aims to bring light and exposure to the hands-on work of each of these very distinct art. The show will run through until December 4th.
Ben Venom aspires to become the “visual commentator” of the culture found in Southern United States. Having grown up in the South, Ben finds himself immensely inspired by not only the culture, but the politics, history, and identity of his roots.