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Contemporary artists share their personal talismans both made and found

I acquired this machete in Bangkok, Thailand, many years ago and placed it on the mantle in my art studio immediately upon my return to San Francisco. Soon after, my good friend Bill”¯McRight”¯filled the blade with engraved drawings and text. These markings all relate to the imagery I work with in my textile pieces and helped transform the machete from a simple weapon to a personal relic. Over time, it has never lost its place on the mantle amid the clutter in my studio. Though the blade itself can be seen as intimidating or powerful, I find that”¯its”¯engraved surface wards off any invaders, real or imagined.”¯

Machete; image courtesy of Ben Venom
Machete; image courtesy of Ben Venom

About the Contributor

Ben Venom is a textile artist based in San Francisco. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Levi Strauss Museum, the National Folk Museum of Korea, HPGRP Gallery, Taubman Museum, Charlotte”¯Fogh”¯Gallery, and the Gregg Museum. Venom has been interviewed by NPR, Playboy,”¯Juxtapoz, KQED, Maxim, and CBS Sunday Morning. Recently, he was the artist in residence at the de Young Museum and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.