Raven’s phenomenal photographic talent was on full display in her first gallery exhibit at Gallery 381, located in the fashionable and exciting Art Walk region of the port city of San Pedro. Music from live street musicians filled the air. People sipped sweet beverages as they walked about, some dancing happily on the sidewalks. Nearing the gallery, Raven’s iconic images were distinctly recognizable from across the street. Right up front, in the large window display on the gallery right, five of Raven’s best photo prints beckoned the viewer ever closer. Inside the gallery, art patrons and the casually curious walked about, enthusiastically admiring Raven’s work and the photographic artistry of a few other talented creators.
Right up front, exactly where they belonged, were the striking color images of a snarling and leather-clad Rob Halford (Judas Priest), a carnival of color called Juliette Lewis (Juliette and the Licks), a smoldering portrait of Slash (Guns & Roses, Velvet Revolver, and etc.), alongside the captivating likenesses of Oli Brown (Raveneye), and Matt Rile (Rivet). People who were just walking by often stopped, did a double-take, and moved closer to the captivating images of rock heroes.
Inside, a small boy of only 1 1⁄2 years was entranced before Raven’s grand black and white portrait of Jerry Only of The Misfits. The child smiled at the sneering, sweaty, rock monster on the wall, looked at me, smiled larger, pointed at the print, and went back to his silent, grinning, admiration. Also in this section of Raven’s display were mesmerizing portrayals of Colin Abrahal of GBH, a big, grinning Tim Armstrong of Rancid, a haunting, shadowy, impression of The Darkness’ singer/guitarist Justin Hawkins, and a forceful rendering of Jehnny
Beth of Savages.
Raven’s photos are transcendent, one can almost hear the music emanating from somewhere beyond the 2nd dimension. The sweat seems to almost drip from the pictures, the crush of being in the crowd is virtually felt, the various smells—all the sweet and stink—are conjured into the present moment by these photos. All this, and a small boy who is not yet two years old can intrinsically understand he is looking at something worth knowing.
Raven’s family of extended friends was on hand to admire and celebrate her accomplishment. In attendance were a couple of the members of A Pretty Mess (guitarist/vocalist Dora Sandoval, aka Dee Skusting, and drummer Aaron Austin), lead guitarist/vocalist Alison Elliot of the British all- sister streetpunk band Maid of Ace, and local legend Randy Stoloda of The Alley Cats. Also in attendance was the ever-present Sal, the creator and curator of Sal’sphotos.net. You may have seen him at every punk show...just like Raven. People socialized, ate cheese, drank wine, commented on Raven’s work and the artistry of the other photoartists, and a good time was had by all. Mr. Stoloda and I spent some time pouring over Raven’s photo book entitled Ravenz PunkPit Photography Vol. 1. It is a riveting rock ‘n’ roll coffee table book full of crisp, crystal
clear photos that will look great on in your home and will definitely inspire exciting conversation.
Throughout the evening, people of all types wandered into the gallery, and most were drawn immediately to Raven’s display. Simply put, Raven’s photographs dominated the event. There is something magnetic about the way she frames the subject and times the action that draws the eye and mind closer. As the evening began to draw to a close, the band Pistol Beauty entertained all with a rousing upbeat acoustic set. While the band was playing, Robert Sarzo, former guitarist for the band Queensryche made his way through the room, silently smiling and nodding at Raven’s work. If you are ever at a rock show, take a look up front and you will probably see Raven up front, doing what she does so well; it is more than just a hobby or a job...this is her life.
By Marcus Solomon
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