Ben Strauss-Malcolm fell in love with art — glass-blowing, specifically, to start — when he was 13. He studied fine art in college, worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and now is gallery director at Quint Contemporary Art, a commercial gallery in La Jolla.

So wouldn’t it be embarrassing if the walls of the 29-year-old’s Golden Hill home were bare? We stopped by to see for ourselves in this first installment of a new blog feature: What’s on Your Wall?

(To really get the full ambience, start up another browser window and listen to music by a Seattle indie folk band called The Cave Singers — that’s what was playing when we visited the other day.)

Age: 29

Neighborhood: Golden Hill

Occupation: Gallery director, Quint Contemporary Art

The first piece we looked at is the one in the background of the photo at the top left — a photograph made in 2008 by Lee Materazzi called “Head in Rocks.”

Protruding from the front wall of Strauss-Malcolm’s living room is something he put together himself last year with manzanita branches from the farmer’s market and moss.

Treehouse Branches, 2009, Ben Strauss-Malcolm Photo: Sam Hodgson

In his bedroom, Strauss-Malcolm has a painting by a San Diego artist, Kelsey Brookes, that was in Quint’s booth at the contemporary art fair last week. He told Brookes he’d take the piece if it didn’t sell at the fair. Brookes made the mixed media piece, titled “Explosion #3,” this year.

Strauss-Malcolm met Brookes, a former biochemist, through a local band he booked for a gallery opening, Grand Ole Party — they had Brookes do their album art.

Explosion #3, 2010, Kelsey Brookes Photo: Sam Hodgson

Strauss-Malcolm let Sam stand in the bathtub to photograph these photographs on his bathroom wall. The seven-by-five inch photographs, called “Pine Point b1” on the left and “Pine Point d6” on the right were made in 2009 by James Shields with a camera he attaches to a kite and flies over the water.

Shields was walking on Willard Beach in Portland, Maine, this past summer using his camera kite and Strauss-Malcolm chatted with him about his process. He sent Shields an e-mail, explored the images he had captured and selected these two.

Pine Point b1 and Pine Point d6, 2009, James Shields Photo: Sam Hodgson

Pine Point b1 and Pine Point d6, 2009, James Shields Photo: Sam Hodgson

Here’s Strauss-Malcolm in and among a piece he made himself from metal flanges, faucets, faucet caps, gold plated wood screws, and mounted in his kitchen between 2008 and 2009.

Ben Strauss-Malcolm poses with his untitled piece. Photo: Sam Hodgson

Above Strauss-Malcolm’s computer in his bedroom is a painting from a prominent San Diego artist, Kim MacConnel. This 2007 acrylic on canvas painting’s called “Triswt #2.”

Triswt #2, 2007, Kim MacConnel Photo: Sam Hodgson

Also on a bedroom wall: a piece that always hung in Strauss-Malcolm’s family’s hallway. As a kid, he remembers staring at the tiny images in the grid to think of the stories behind them. It was his grandpa’s, called “Practical Physics” and dated 1983. The piece is a family heirloom — artist unknown, but identified on the piece as “KH.”

Practical Physics, 1983, (Piece is a family heirloom — artist unknown, but identified on the piece as “KH.”) Photo: Sam Hodgson

Strauss-Malcolm’s brother, Sam Strauss-Malcolm, made this maple wood piece, a graffiti-tag-style piece called “Fly” in 2003. Sam works for Ralph Lauren as a designer.

Fly, 2003, Sam Strauss-Malcolm Photo: Sam Hodgson

The last piece we looked at is a humorous painted bronze sculpture made by Jean Lowe called “Trojan Super Grande” in 2005.

Trojan Super Grande, 2005, Jean Lowe Photo: Sam Hodgson

Remarkably, these aren’t all the pieces — but we had to stop somewhere. Strauss-Malcolm also has a few pieces by Adam Belt, a photograph made by UCSD alum Roy McMakin, a skateboard deck by Ryan McGinness, some prints from 20×200, a website that sells limited-edition prints and photographs.

What’s on your wall? Your neighbor’s? Your dentist’s? Suggest a future installment by leaving a comment or dropping an e-mail to the address below.

Text by Kelly Bennett, photographs by Sam Hodgson. Please contact them directly at and Follow them on Twitter: @kellyrbennett and @samuelhodgson.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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