Kelsey Bennett + B. Thom Stevenson

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photographer / Kacy Johnson

story /Gina Tron

Kelsey Bennett and  B. Thom Stevenson merged their talents to make a collection called “Boregasm,” that debuted in NY last month and still resonates with me today.  The show was exhibited at Manhattan’s Fig19 Gallery. The two had worked together in the past on music videos and even a war-mobile of sorts that they collaborated on at last year’s Bushwick Open Studios. They felt they had good chemistry and decided to make something tangible together. Stevenson said that he and Bennett “have fun together and [wanted to] make something something with actual material. We could have totally started a blog but we didn’t.”
I spoke to them in Home Sweet Home, a bar located below the the gallery. Alcohol was consumed and the two played with the establishment’s taxidermy wolf. The wolf is not just a piece of bar furniture, it also is a model. It was featured in “Boregasm,” which was a collaboration of Bennett’s photography and Stevenson’s painting and art.

I asked the duo about the meaning behind the title, “Boregasm.” Bennett stated that “it’s a juxtaposition of the words boredom and orgasm. It’s an ode to staring off into space, [when you do so and] something bigger than boredom comes to you. An accumulation of your thoughts that may start out in a mundane way, but end in a way that is inspiring.” So basically, an explosion of creativity born of boredom.

Bennett told me that she often entered this state while working on the collages. The art took place in 3 parts. The first would be Bennett’s photography and collage making. Bennett is known for her portraits of musicians and artists. (She is also known for being the granddaughter of legend musician, Tony Bennett.) She recently held an exhibit showcasing portraits in LA. For “Boregasm,” she escaped the portrait world and entered that of her imagination.
She would send what she made digitally to Stevenson, who would reprint them. “I received these objects. I did not know anybody in the images,” he explained. “It was this other reality she created in her mind. She had a story and I re-interpreted it. It was almost like I was daydreaming in someone else’s mind.” He would then paint as he felt fit.
The 3rd part of the process would be the onlookers, who would interpret their worlds combined, with a different perception. One of their pieces is named after the title of the exhibit. It features eyeballs being engulfed in chaotic visuals. It’s like the epicenter of the exhibit, and it was pretty much hung in the center of the gallery.
I enjoyed hanging out with these guys. They have great chemistry with one another, and seemed comfortable explaining their art. They are serious about making art, but they have a lot of fun doing so. During the interview, Bennett broke out a packet of Beavis & Butthead pins. She even gave me a pin of the 1990’s classic, a “Cornholio” pin to be specific. It was at this point that the two noticed that the Beavis & Butthead logo closely resembled the font they used for “Boregasm.” “I wonder if that was subconscious,” he muttered.
Bennett is currently working on a photography project entitled “H.A.G.S.” It stands for “Have A Good Summer,” and it will be her “dream yearbook.”

More pics of Kelsey Bennett + B. Thom Stevenson here.

A good interview and pictures from show here!

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