Voice 1156 is proud to present Below Sea Level
New stuff by Ben Horton

July 7 - 28
Opening reception Friday July 7, 2006
4:00pm - 11:00pm
Music by DJ Whitewash
with special guests:
Leland "Spoonful" Collins and Danny "Slapjazz" Barber

Gallery hours: Tuesday - Friday 11am - 6pm;
Saturday - Monday by appointment

Click on the thumbnails to view exhibition and opening night photos.

VOICE 1156 proudly presents Below Sea Level, a solo exhibition featuring new works and installation by local San Diego artist Ben Horton. Using a mixture of paint, photographs, trash, and drawings, Horton depicts the people and animals that he encounters in his day-to-day life. For Below Sea Level, Horton created some of his largest canvases to date. The show also features Horton's new minimal ink drawings on paper.

“Below Sea Level is the feeling of being overwhelmed and trapped under a sea of errands, relationships, thoughts, and lack of sleep,” explains Ben Horton. Horton often finds himself somewhere below sea level as he balances a full time job designing skate decks for Black Box Distribution, with a wife and 2 young boys, throwing in skateboarding – being an avid skateboarder for over 15 years – and using whatever time he has left to create art.

Horton creates heavily layered, tactile paintings. He overlays fine lined, highly detailed drawings onto painted backgrounds, collaged with an array of found objects. On many canvases, Horton also scratches, scribbles, or scatters additional layers of words or phrases, creating mesmerizing depths that invite the viewer's eyes to linger. A single character or animal is often depicted as the main subject, but the expressions and movements captured in the works reveal a narrative quality and combine with the other elements in the canvas to tell an elaborate story.


Primarily a self-taught artist, Horton entered the gallery art scene just a few years ago. He exploits his artistic talents on various mediums such as canvas, paper, and wood using acrylics, house paints, ink, and sharpie pens -- whatever is lying around and easily available to him. His detailed drawings stretch over painted canvases with text circulating throughout. Each work is filled with a multitude of layers for the eye to navigate.

Ben Horton first gained notoriety through graphics he created for skateboard decks - himself a skateboarder, with over fifteen years of disservice to his joints. Horton's ideas come from photographs and his life experiences. The people that inhabit Horton's canvases have an indefinable connection, something gleaned from their expressions or eyes. There is richness and a familiarity in his cast of characters. Birds are a common theme, swooping and soaring throughout the foregrounds and backgrounds of the works. Horton explains, “I just feel close to them. I think it must go back to before my Grandmother passed away. We would just sit and watch birds in the late afternoon, and talk about them. Mockingbirds, Orioles, Warblers, Hummingbirds; you can learn so much about behavior of all living things from birds.”

Horton works a day job at Black Box Distribution to help support his wife and two children, Grant and Winston. He still utilizes what little free time he has to create and contribute to the world of art and continues the disservice to his joints with his love for skating.

Below Sea Level is made possible through the patronage of the following sponsors:

Black Box Distribution

RVCA Clothing

Neighbourhood Boutique

Say Lula Salon

955 S. 16th Street, San Diego CA 92113. 619.702.6952

Full-time sponsor FLORABELLA

Full-service florist: weddings and events
1732 Madison Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
Phone 619.574.7673 Fax 619.574.1130

Full-time sponsor UNSCENE

Sound system provided by: