Halloween fast approaches, and when I was a child I used to think this day was meant for children – after all, it was we (as my mischievous younger self remembers) who donned the streets in crazy homemade costumes, squeals and cackles echoing as we trick or treated, slowly overrunning the town. Growing up, however, unveiled to me that Halloween is most definitely a time to be celebrated by adults – even more so I will argue, as we, my friends, can really push the boundaries. No longer children, we have further capacity, experience, networks and imagination to both think outside the box – and really delve into the horror that lies within All Hallows Eve. The kids may be out on the streets, but there is far more going on behind closed doors.
It’s this thinking that led Crystal Turk at Left Hand Black, a tattoo studio and gallery in San Diego, to go on a journey to find a truly special theme for their Halloween exhibition.
“Our first real art show drawn together at Left Hand Black was titled “Horror Business”, set to debut September 2012, so the idea for the show had to be unique… I landed on a gift to my husband by our good friend Scott Bramble. It was a huge and gnarly splitter cleaver from the 1800’s that Scott had painted a big severed devil head on. This piece was a huge inspiration: my husband and I have always been massive fans of old cleavers and axes – we have a huge collection of them that we have both accumulated throughout each of our lives – so this idea was perfect to me! I decided that the world needed more creepy painted cleavers; It just did!”
Saturday, October 6, 2018 | 6-10pm. Free beer with valid ID.
October 6 – November 6, 2018
Left Hand Black
1947 Fern Street #5 | San Diego | CA | 92102
2018 Artist Lineup:
Adam Parrot, Anthony Mascolino, Ashley Riot, Bam Maslar, Brett Herman, Bryan Kachel, Bundy, Champ Grubbs, Chris Velasquez, Cleen Rock One, Codey Doran, Carly Ealey, Cole Strem, Crystal Turk, Dan Harding, Dave Tevenal, Deadmeat, Dylan Garrett Smith, Earth and Bone, Emmanuel Mendzoa, Faust, Frank Guthier, GOREilla, James Aitken, Jamie Lee Parker, J Photo, John Kelly Pevahouse, Jon Clue, Kapps, Kevin Dickenson, Kevin Lewis, Khalil Justice Linane, Kyle McKenzie, Marc Beccia, Matt Stebly, Matthew Dutton, Matthew Manroe, Matthew Murphy, MoeMoe, Myles Karr, Paul Deters, Phil Holt, Pinkerton, Reed McMaster, Rob Goodkind, Sarah Genereux, Scott Bramble, Scotty Munster, Simon Golygowski, Steve Belmarsh, Tim Shelton, Todd Lambright, Tom Strom, Tony Medelin, Turk, Zack Dunn.
And so the premise for Horror Business was created. The annual show has proved an astounding success – each year has seen embellished cleavers, a little piece of each artists’s soul, hung around the studio while viewers experience the very essence of Left Hand Black:
“Horror Business has always been our clients favourite art show” explains Crystal, who will also be exhibiting in the show herself. “The first three shows we had a line out the door on opening night. Every show, we sell 50-75% of the art on opening night! People really seem to like this event and it’s a great introduction to the Fall and Halloween. It really gets us all in the Halloween spirit, and I really love seeing what people can create on a meat cleaver.
Nothing screams horror more than a room of hanging meat cleavers with the Misfits playing in the background. It fits our shop clientele very well.”
Crystal aims to include a versatile selection of artists within each Horror Business group exhibition; as well as traditional fine art painters, Left Hand Black Studio exhibits sculptors, taxidermists and, of course, tattoo artists. “Some taxidermists fix their blade into an animal or attach it in some way to it, some sculptors sculpt a detailed cleaver or just sculpt on top of it. I love inviting these types of artists cause it mixes up the atmosphere and gives the wall more texture when the show is hanging.” While some artists may be daunted by the unusual canvas, those exhibiting in Horror Business VII have dared to embraced the adventure into the unconventional.
Tintype image by Derek Mohr
As I spoke with Crystal about the event we discussed why so many people are attracted to this show. Is it more due to the gruesome roots forming the basis for these artworks, or perhaps the concept of rebirth the items go through to turn into something new? In the end, it may be both: “Cleavers represent a working age in the steel industry that we have lost. These golden antiques have all fed our ancestors – hard working people slaughtering meat for our pleasure. When you look at all the dings in the blade and wear on the handles, seeing the marring on the edge of the blade where the butchers had to hammer down to cut through the bone of the meat, nothing shows our blood, sweat and tears from our ancestors more. Now, adding to that, they are being painted to glorify the horror and bring a new light to each piece, completely re-birthing this beautiful masterpiece into a modern day horror movie relic.”
So what can viewers expect when they walk through the doors? Among the cleavers, Halloween candy, treats, free beer, bats and pumpkins will don the rooms; a modern day dark fairytale, tempting you into the depths of darkness and the occult… “I like to create a Halloween atmosphere.” explains Crystal. “Halloween is a time of mystery and pretend. Dancing in the midst of the moonlight and howling at the wolves. We welcome the darkness of Fall, we embrace the horror nights of ghouls and goblins. Horror Business is a night to remember all those ghostly good feelings you had as a kid while trick-o-treating. Since as adults we don’t get to have that experience anymore, to me this is special. Artists putting their memories and influences on these beautiful cleavers hanging all around a Halloween room; there’s nothing better.”
Though we can’t yet share with you this year’s creations, get a taste of what’s to come by enjoying our selection of previous paragons unveiled at the annual Horror Business event.
Horror Business VII will exhibit from October 6 – November 6, 2018. Limited edition Horror Business books and original tintypes will also be available for purchase throughout the exhibition.
By Christina Maslar
Mechanical cleaver by Soba
By Jacob Henry
By John Keeley Pevahouse