benjammin

Benjammin

April 2, 2013 Posted by Daniel Sitaram - No Comments

Benjammin founded and co-owns Benjammin Dyes. He is a visionary artist whose intricate tie-dye art has become an iconic part of the modern day psychedelic rock scene. His custom tie-dye clothing and tapestries have adorned numerous legends including the Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey, Willie Nelson, Wavy Gravy, Robbie Krieger, Ben Harper, Dave Mathews, The Allman Brothers Band, String Cheese Incident, 7 Walkers, Dark Star Orchestra, George Porter Jr., and The Meters. Recently, his designs have been licensed by Croakies for their exclusive line of sunglass straps and belts.

Benjammin’s inspiration as an artist stems from his passion for music. After selling his tie-dye designs out of the back of his van at Grateful Dead shows, several of his pieces eventually made their way to the impressed eyes of several band members. As a result, Jerry Garcia became one of Benjammin’s biggest supporters, inviting him to showcase his art to some of counter-culture’s biggest influencers including Ken Kesey, Wavy Gravy, Jon Popper, Kirk Hammer, and Tom Constantan. Benjammin’s tie-dye soon became highly sought-after by many of rock and roll’s elite. One of his first custom pieces was for Robby Krieger of The Doors.

In 1993, Benjammin had one of his tapestries filmed by Grateful Dead Lighting Director, Candice Brightman. The footage was subsequently turned into video that was shown behind the Grateful Dead during their stadium shows. Until Garcia’s passing in 1995, Benjammin’s tie-dye backdrops became a featured element of Brightman’s Grateful Dead light show.

Furthering Benjammin’s influence on the Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh was photographed in the 1999-2000 edition of Relix Magazine wearing one of Benjammin’s tie dye t-shirts. Lesh also wore one of his shirts on stage, marking the first time Lesh had worn a tie-dye t-shirt since Jerry Garcia’s memorial.

Benjammin’s custom designs have made their way onto national television and in front of thousands as artists from the Grateful Dead and beyond have chosen to wear his work on stage. In 2007, Phil Lesh and Friends keyboardist Rob Barraco wore one of Benjammin’s designs when the band played on the David Letterman Show. Drummer John Molo also wore one of Benjammin’s designs when he played on stage with John Fogerty during Farm Aid. A CNN interview showcased Benjammin’s art to a national audience when his dragon fly tapestry was behind the Grateful Dead as they were interviewed live during their 2002 Alpine Valley reunion.

Benjammin currently produces light shows and creates tie-dye stage backdrops for numerous musicians. His work can frequently be seen at all 7 Walkers shows as well as music festivals such as High Sierra, Harmony Festival, Bears Picnic, Live on the Bay, Trinity Tribal Stomp, Earthdance Festival, Reggae on the River, Jam Cruise, and many more. His latest artistic endeavor is to complete a commissioned tie-dye portrait of Jimi Hendrix for the Experience Music Project in Seattle, WA.

In June 2012, Benjammin opened Jammin on Haight, a new boutique located on the historic corner of Haight and Masonic Streets in San Francisco. The boutique’s mission is to breathe a new vitality into the San Francisco Haight St. experience by showcasing current trends of today’s visionary youth, while retaining the integrity of the original visionary movement. The store will feature many of Benjammin’s own designs in addition to highly sought after items that can often only be found at some of the West Coast’s most popular music and arts festivals.

With the recent evolution of his new boutique, Jammin on Haight, Benjammin has become one of the only tie-dye artists to transcend the spirit of the counter-culture movement of the 60’s and 70’s and achieve relevance within the visionary arts and music scene of today.