Like combining heavy metal and vegan cuisine, the tough masculine image of this extreme musical genre may seem at odds with the folksy domesticity of quilting. Yet American artist Ben Venom skillfully reconciliates these two opposites, using vintage heavy metal t-shirts as the raw material for his incredible quilts. Similar to traditional quilts which commemorate a family history by stitching together salvaged pieces of fabric, Venom's insane patchwork quilts offer a fitting homage to the history of heavy metal music -- taking on a mind-bending dimension as you look at them closer.According to Venom, who is a self-taught quilter, his one-of-a-kind bedding can be described as
[..] a collision of Iron Maiden Metal ballads with the outrageous stage antics of Ozzy Osbourne. Serious, yet attempting to take on a B movie Horror ï¬lm style where even the beasts of Metal need a warm blanket to sleep with. The question remains... Can I play with madness?
His first quilt, titled Listen to Heavy Metal While You Sleep! (2010, below), took him 3 months to complete and consists of around 35 heavy metal band t-shirts.
His most recent quilt, the "eyeball searing" See You on the Other Side (measuring 13â€² x 15â€²), took over 5 months to finish and contains over 125 recycled t-shirts. The graphic detail of the old shirts becomes apparent as you zoom in closer.
Like quilts of yore, which were often done as communal projects in "quilting bees," Venom's quilts gather material from his personal network of friends who play in metal bands, in addition to t-shirts collected from Ebay, thrift stores and his own collection. Put together with a Juki sewing machine, these disparate pieces of fabric are arranged into impressively designed artworks.
Venom's love of heavy metal shines through in his meticulous handiwork, whether it's in his quilts and various home accessories like his graphically-striking cushions -- all heavy-metal themed of course. He has even done embroidery -- of bleeding birds and electric guitars -- which leaves us only imagining what his home decor may look like.
Check out the rest of Ben Venom's fascinating work on his website, or if you're in the San Francisco area, his latest quilt is on view at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the Bay Area Now 6 show until September 25th.
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