“I’m not a quilter,” says Ben Venom (née Baumgartner). "I’m an artist and I know what I like.”
He likes heavy metal and he likes concert t-shirts. And it’s not a mystery why. Venom is from Cobb County, Georgia, one of the most conservative spots in the US, and he’s genuinely rebellious. He remembers when Clear Channel was trying to spoon feed teenager boys Limp Bizkit. He spits that sort of stuff out. Like most artists, he likes art for art’s sake. Commerce in drag doesn’t cut it.
But commerce is a thing that happens to artists when their work strikes a chord. And Venom has been building the sort of audience a modern heavy metal outfit might envy. Still, his close friends won’t let him get away with the fact that he makes quilts for a living.
“A couple years ago I was featured in Quilt Life magazine,” he says. “When I brought it to the bar the night it came out to show my friends, they were on the floor laughing.” He shrugs this off. “It’s cool. It’s a part the whole thing.”