KQED Art School is on a new mission to find out how artists develop their signature style, and we’re asking some prolific Bay Area artists to tackle this compelling question in order to figure out how one goes about developing a personal style that is recognizable and unique. The first artist in our new series is San Francisco’s Ben Venom, who creates punk quilts for everyday rockers who want to be cozy, as well as quilts that are a little less functional and sit more comfortably in a framed-art context.
Using traditional reuse and appliqué methods, Venom takes his inspiration from the historical and social aspect of quilting, and particularly the Gees Bend community of quilters in Alabama, who are highly regarded as some of the most significant contributors to African American art history. Venom also grew up as a member of the Atlanta punk rock scene, contributing his creativity to support musicians with posters and patches, and he is heavily inspired by occult imagery like skulls, wolves, chains, and all things rough and tough.
Venom is developing folklore and personal symbolism through his quilts, which are often made of recycled materials donated by his friends and family, including T-shirts for heavy metal bands, old denim and leather jackets. He has traveled the world to exhibit his quilts in fine art and folk art museums from Korea to Germany, to all over the US. Find out more about how Ben Venom’s style developed, and start considering how you can create or perfect your own creative moves.
See more of Ben’s work at BenVenom.com.