We had the good fortune of connecting with Ben Venom and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ben, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
Always follow your dumb ideas! Never doubt or edit yourself…go all the way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Though I originally began my practice as a painter and printmaker, I began to transition to textile-based work in graduate school at the San Francisco Art Institute. While in graduate school (2005-2007) I was slowly learning how to use the sewing machine via trial and error. Mistakes are a large part of my artistic process. In 2008 I was asked to participate in a group exhibition in Berlin, Germany and wanted to do something new and big for the show. After seeing the Gees Bend quilts, I decided to push the boundaries of my art and attempt to make a quilt. This first quilt would contain my collection of Heavy Metal band shirts. For years I had amassed a large pile of torn up and threadbare band shirts that I could never throw away. It’s not cool when your Slayer shirt turns to mesh. Ha! From there my work has progressed to include all types of material including donated/ recycled fabric, denim, and leather. Textiles has allowed me to push my art past being just a precious object hanging on the wall to become a fusion of Art, Fashion, and especially Function.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would do walking tour of my neighborhood the Haight / Ashbury stopping first at the apartment at the Grateful Dead house on Ashbury Street then to Zam Zams bar for a quick drink to admire the incredibly not to scale mural behind the bar . Just around the corner on Cole to where Charles Manson lived for a brief time then walking a few blocks into Cole Valley to see the Tiger House on Frederick Street. At this point we jump in the car and drive up the hill after hill to twin peaks to catch one of the best views of the entire city of San Francisco. Then a windy drive along the coast thru the Presidio ( a former military post) which connects to the Golden Gate bridge. Drive across the bridge into the Headlands Art Center to catch some Karl the Fog. Come back across the Golden Gate bridge to end the evening at Lands End and the Cliffhouse.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife ( Megan Gorham ) who is an accomplished fine art photographer.
Randy Dodson Shaun Roberts David Rowan