Iron Fist Magazine

HEAVY METAL WARRIOR: SHARON EHMAN/TOXIC VISION

Doro’s got a contender for most famous bum in metal. Recently the social networks have been in awe of the designs (and derriere) of Canadian seamstress Sharon Ehman and her label Toxic Vision. Inspired by King Diamond, Venom, Bathory, Iron Maiden and Saxon we had to track her down and talk to her about her love of denim and leather.

Hi Sharon, when did you begin to start tinkering with your own designs and why?
Everyone has the choice to create their own world or live in someone else’s. There was never a specific moment when I sat down and articulated what I was going to do for the rest of my life, it just happened naturally. At 17 years old, I knew I had a hunger to create something of my own. Toxic Vision is the world I have created for myself. I think having the courage to break the mould is a very powerful tool that will inspire others to live their lives for themselves. Many people fear the cauldron, they dip their fingers into it and back away from the heat. I believe you should fully submerge yourself and hold your breath to the very end.”

What is it that draws you to heavy metal?
Without music, Toxic Vision would not exist. Heavy metal is the fuel for my craft. It talks of triumph and passion, individualism, free will, darkness and morbid fascination, breaking the shackles of normality and provoking regular society to feel uncomfortable.”

What have been your favourite pieces to design?
It is always extra special to be given the opportunity to work with some of the musicians whose music played a heavy hand in the inspiration process of my work. I have worked on some projects where I have been given complete creative freedom from a band that has a very strong and precise image and this always allows for my best work to show through, resulting in my favourite pieces. There is something very rewarding about having someone trust what you do completely and this remains as one of the biggest compliments I can receive.”

Is there any one artist you would love to work with on stage costume?
Yes! Right now, I really want to work with Ghost. I am fascinated by this band and I have such a clear picture in my head of what I would be able to create for them. I would love the opportunity to bring this to reality!”

What are your favourite bands?
My favourite bands are Iron Maiden and Savatage, even though this is probably the most difficult questions as there are many bands I love for so many different reasons. Since I work alone music is blasted at any hour of the day, all day long. Current albums of interest are Watain ‘Sworn To The Dark’, Ghost ‘Opus Eponymous’, In Solitude ‘The World The Flesh The Devil’, Bathory ‘Under The Sign Of The Black Mark’, Portrait ‘Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae’ (go Sweden!), Axe ‘Offering’, Ace Lane ‘See You In Heaven’ and Witchfynde ‘Give Em Hell’. Also recently I have picked up Candlemass’ new album and Axel Rudi Pell’s ‘Circle Of The Oath’.”

When did you start listening to metal?
The seed was planted when I came home from school one day to find KISS ‘Destroyer’ in my room. I was instantly fascinated and it just snowballed from there. Heavy metal just clicked. Now looking back, I’ve had the time to think about it further. I think that social unrest causes people to become more passionate and receptive to the things that drawn them in. Perhaps they do not know the source of their restlessness but they do know the feeling of something fighting against it. They know the feeling of change and even just a morsel of exposure to something different can have a profound and lasting impact. Being exposed to something important and not knowing the meaning at the time but having it grow into something big… perhaps this is why heavy metal has stuck with me throughout the years.”

At the moment you are only doing one-off or limited pieces, would you like to do this on a bigger scale?
This is something I am confronted with all of the time. I have had many offers to expand into a large commercial business, all of which I have refused. I work alone, this is not a job and it is not just a way to make money. I have created my own private utopia and the thought of taking that away or restricting it doesn’t feel right. We live in a world where money is the gauge of success, but in more ways than one I feel I have already won. The cunning allure of money and pursuit of fame can cloud people’s vision of real fulfilment and value in life. I think it is much more of an accomplishment to stick to your guns and actually lead the life you want. With that being said, I do not know of an off switch, I am always restless and forever hungry. I have not found a way to differentiate purpose and passion from normality and I don’t think I ever want to find that switch. Who knows what the future will bring? I just know that whatever it is, I will be doing it my own way and without compromise. The only thing that will stop me will be the end of this world. But then what will I care, I will be dead and so will you.”

A version of this interview was printed in Iron Fist #1 available from our online store