Mark Weiss & Christian Benner: Iconic New Jersey Art Collaboration

MetalTalk’s favourite legendary photographer, Mark Weiss, and Christian Benner, the New York-based fashion designer known for his custom distressed leather jackets and band tees, have joined forces for a one-off Art Collaboration. Billed as Two Mediums One Vision, the pair will show their art at Asbury Park in New Jersey on 1 May 2024.

The show is at Asbury Park, 910 Main St. Asbury Park, NJ on 1 May between 4:30 and 6:00. You can RSVP and receive a postcard set of iconic Mark Weiss images from the ’80s by sending an email to decadethatrocked@gmail.com.

For four decades, Mark ‘Weissguy’ Weiss has been a defining force in Heavy Metal photography. Since a dramatic arrest for selling photos at a Kiss concert in the late ’70s, Weiss has crafted some of the most legendary images in the rock and Metal scenes.

Mark has released his book The Decade That Rocked: The Music and Mayhem of ’80s Rock and Metal, a bible for music fans of that era. The book is a 378-page treasure trove of history, split year by year, which shows the flood of sex, spandex, music, makeup, and mayhem that hit the ’80s Metal scene like a hurricane.

Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet. Photo Mark Weiss
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet. Photo Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss was 14 when he went to his first concert. “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, and it was just a memorable day,” Mark Weiss told MetalTalk editor Steve Ritchie. “50-100,000 people were there, pot in the air, girls, bikinis. It was an awesome moment.”

The concert was held on the day that U.S. President Richard Nixon resigned. “David Crosby came out in the middle of the show and told the audience. That was news.” 

Mark met Kenny Ref, a family friend, at the concert. “He had this camera dangling around his neck, and these two hot girls and I said, where are you going? ‘We’re going to the front to take some pictures,’ he said, and he and the girls walked into the sunset.”

Mark decided this was his calling. “I wanted to do this, and then I started sneaking into concerts at Madison Square Gardens,” Mark says. “Peter Frampton, Elton John was one of my first concerts, Aerosmith, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and Kiss.”

Christian Benner says the records he listens to often inspire his work. He describes the creation of a leather jacket as an artistic process, almost like the creation of a painting. Benner was initially inspired by the individual ‘do-it-yourself’ fashion of the punk rock scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s. After seeing photographs of the era, Benner bought his first leather jacket, thinking he could do it himself. He finally found his creative niche through trial and error.

Christian Benner, New York-based fashion designer
Christian Benner, New York-based fashion designer

Christian Benner’s unique grasp of rock ‘n’ roll culture makes his designs particularly sought after for photo shoots, live performances and public appearances. 

His designs have catered to today’s top celebrities, including art for Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, The Rascal Flatts, Jared Leto, Brandon Boyd, Steven Tyler, Taylor Momsen, Axl Rose and Machine Gun Kelly. 

Benner’s designs have been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, Vogue, W Magazine and Billboard Magazine, among many other publications.

Christian’s custom leather jackets will be available for purchase at the event, and you can also buy The Decade That Rocked: The Music and Mayhem of ’80s Rock and Metal.

Sleeve Notes

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