At its opening last Saturday, Ben Venom’s “I Call the Shots” drew a large crowd of long-haired and leather-clad metal fans who came to see the San Francisco-based artist’s unconventional use of the sewing machine. Black and red dominated Guerrero Gallery as quilts composed of band t-shirts, pillows emblazoned with skulls and studded vests of the artist’s design lined the walls. As much as the odd juxtaposition of traditional, domestic crafts like embroidery and quilting and the aggressiveness of heavy metal endows Venom’s work with a sense of humor, it also fosters a cross-disciplinary conversation between art and music. Venom spins fan memorabilia — he once wore many of the t-shirts used to create the mixed-media works in the show — into a tribute to a niche subculture that is at once marginalized and exclusive. Take a look at some photos from the opening night by yours truly and a brief studio visit video by Agency Charlie.
Artist Ben Venom