BILLY AL BENGSTON

Billy Al Bengston (American, b. 1934) is an artist and sculptor who lives and works in Venice, California and Hawaii. He was educated at Los Angeles City College (1952), California College of Arts & Crafts (1955), and the Otis Art Institute (1956). After seeing the work of Jasper Johns at the 1958 Venice Biennale he adopted the motif of a set of sergeant's stripes. This recurring image was painted with industrial materials and techniques associated with the decoration of bike tanks and surfboards, encouraging his viewers in the early 1960s to associate his art with motorcycle subculture. Art critics like Thomas E. Crow have drawn attention to the deliberate contrast between Bengston's flamboyant, competitive, aggressively masculine stance and the delicate, modest approach to his art.