Currently based out of San Francisco, Venom has been renowned for his textile-based pieces for over a decade. Through the time consuming and endlessly detailed craft of quilting and textile art, Venom uses repurposed materials to infuse two strong concepts throughout his works: functionality and tangibility. Whether it’s quilts that babies can lie on, wearable jackets or denim vests, each of Venom’s pieces are chaotic and sprawling mosaics of counterculture iconography. Psychedelic colours, visceral textures, and hypnotic patterns all clash to create landscapes of roaring tigers, burning skulls, and macabre goat heads. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Before he sets out towards packed 2019, we caught up with Venom to talk about his unique body of work.
When I was around 11 years old my cousin Jason gave me a Vision skateboard deck and it was all downhill from there. As a teenager I was introduced to the Atlanta punk rock scene and became a follower of D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself). This mentality carried me through my teenage years and into adulthood. Basically, don’t ever let anything hinder you from seeing your ideas through to the end. When I began sewing I had no idea what I was doing…simply a concept I wanted to create.
Your art possesses the unique aesthetic or re purposing materials into intricate and bold images. What inspired you to incorporate recycling materials as a central aspect to your artistic practice?
By stitching donated fabrics into a unified piece, the quilts are able to display a multitude of personal histories. Everyone’s unexplained stain, tear, or rip will be included and when displayed visitors will be able to see a piece of themselves woven into this larger history. A collection of memories, dreams, and past experiences will be on view in the form of a functional quilt.
Textiles has allowed me to push my art past being just a precious object hanging on the wall to becoming the perfect fusion of Art, Fashion, and especially Function.
For me it is still very important to see the artist’s hand within the work. All the imperfections, mistakes, and errors are what ultimately makes us who we are.
Always follow your dumb ideas!
-Solo exhibition at Panteon (Mexico City, Mexico) in partnership with Hellion Gallery.
-Solo exhibition at the Midlands Art Centre (Birmingham, U.K.).
-Group exhibition at the Mobile Museum of Art.
-Teaching a workshop at Arrowmont in November.
-Venom / RVCA capsule release.
Find more info on Ben Venom here.