Best of the Bay 2012: BEST HEAVY METAL STITCH WIZARD

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GUARDIAN PHOTO BY BRITTANY M. POWELL

He's the mustachioed maniac who wields a sewing machine and an endless array of heavy metal T-shirts, creating quilts depicting claw-bearing beasties, horned skulls, and other images that wouldn't be out of place on an Iron Maiden stage backdrop. Ben Venom (née Baumgartner), whose MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute definitely didn't include quilting, is self-taught when it comes to pieces like his massive quilt, "See You On the Other Side," featured in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' prestigious Bay Area Now 6 exhibition. He also presented work in You Should Be Living, a display of metal-inspired pieces at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery in Birmingham, England (homeland of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, and Napalm Death). Venom has even whipped up a baby quilt for an infant who'll grow up with a unique appreciation of Metallica and the Scorpions.

www.benvenom.com