Metal Life Exclusive Interview With Toxic Vision Clothing Founder Sharon Ehman
Toxic Vision is a revolutionary clothing line that has forever changed the fashion game for metal. Owner Sharon Ehman is a true visionary, an independent artist that has blazed her own trail through the world of heavy metal clothing and beyond by creating, every week, a completely new line of her clothing that reflects what society fears most, outsiders. Each piece is handcrafted from cloth, steel, leather, wood; whatever she can lay hands on, which Sharon turns into deeply meaningful and on occasion, deeply disturbing wearable art. From satanic themes, aliens, death personified, travel, dark magic, and heavy metal, nothing is left unexplored. Sharon rarely accepts interview invitations, so please enjoy this gem!
1) You have mentioned in the past about expanding your Toxic Vision line. What more would you like to add to your designs?
To some, I suppose this is nothing more than a woman with a pair of scissors, but it has never been that easy. Toxic Vision is my voice – it is the manifestation of something inside of me that I cannot control. It is never silent, and always hungry. If I cannot expel this energy and continue moving forward, surely I would go mad. You see, this is all very much more than what I do – it is all consuming, it is who I am, it is my dagger that must be thrust deep into a world that I’ve never really felt a part of in the first place. It is a way of survival.
2) Looking back, is there anything along your journey that you wish you would have handled differently regarding Toxic Vision?
Sure, but it is impossible to go back in time, so it is best to recognize these mistakes and try to implement the lessons learned while moving forward. Anything else is a waste of time and energy. And there is never enough time to begin with…
3) Do you have any artists, other than musicians, that you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration is very abstract, I’m not really sure how to define it anymore. If anything – my biggest source of outside inspiration would be the words and presence of familiars. Some people feel very familiar to me, and their words are important – their work is important. But I must emphasize – if anyone is looking for a source of inspiration – look WITHIN. Dig deep down inside, awaken and listen. There is nothing more powerful than the realization of a fire burning inside.
4) You work in a wide variety of mediums. Where do you go when you are hunting for new fabrics, studs, or pieces for your metal work?
On a recent trip to Iceland, I climbed down a cliff and onto a sliver of land that jutted out into a fjord. It was a rather cold day, hovering just above zero with a light rain. The air was so crisp and fresh, I could feel it right down to the very bottom of my lungs. I climbed out barefoot, wearing a coat of red paint and bodysuit, and a bag with a crown and camera tucked under my arm. It was a very liberating moment – being here, alone, in the middle of nowhere..and this nowhere had a view so spectacular I could’ve barely dreamed about it – across the fjord was an emerald green mountain streaked in snow and way off in the distance a tiny town dotting the shoreline, the other end opening up to the vast ocean waters. I set up my camera and danced around in the grass, climbing atop some small rocks taking photos before heading my way back. As I was walking, I stumbled upon some interesting bones that I picked up and stuffed into my bag. A few moments later, I found myself in a very precarious situation when I mistakenly climbed back up a different way and found myself clinging to a part of the cliff that was quickly disintegrating beneath me, parts of the earth tumbling a long way down off a sharp drop and into the water. My heart was pounding and I really thought this might be it, but I managed to slither my way back and ended up crawling across a small ledge to more stable ground. I couldn’t help but giggle when I got to the top, at the thought of someone eventually finding this painted-red body, wondering what in the hell happened here? I have the bones. I am currently building a headdress out of them.
5) Some of your work taps into the local cultures of various countries you have visited. Is there any place that you would like to visit that you haven’t yet?
Without a doubt, I will spend the rest of my days travelling to all corners of this earth… I’ve barely just begun.
6) Your creations certainly invoke a wide range of emotions out of people. Why do you believe people find themselves offended at some of the subjects you tackle in your art?
Why are they offended? They are trying to hide their demons. And I am pleased to know that my work is rattling a few cages.
7) How does it make you feel to watch your collections sell out week after week, sometimes within minutes? Do you feel satisfied with the results, or does it leave you with a burning desire to create more?
I feel extremely grateful, beyond words. I hope that the people who support my work – in any capacity, know how much it means to me. And I will never forget it. As much as I am fighting for myself, I am also fighting for you. I see a lot of greatness around me – some people who don’t realize it yet – and I want to say ‘LOOK – if I can do this, you can too’. Listen to your inner voice, feed your inner fire and fight for what you want. You can scream and shout and be heard in this world that would rather you just be mundane, compliant and regular. It is up to YOU to make it happen.
8) Did 17 year old Sharon from Saskatchewan ever dream that Toxic Vision would be where it is at today?
No, it would be impossible to imagine because I am not the same person that I was at 17. I am not the same person that I was at 21, or 24 or onward. But I made myself a promise right from the start. It must always be – ALL or nothing, without compromise. And that is a promise that I’ve always kept.
9) What is something about yourself, or Toxic Vision, that you want your fans to know that they may not know already?
I do not think of anyone as my ‘fans’. You are my peers.
10) Do you have bands you are listening to that aren’t widely known that you’d like to recommend?
Some time ago, a close friend introduced me to Bohren & Der Club of Gore’s Black Earth and it opened some very important doors. Another special person brought Essenz’ Mundus Numen to my attention and that sent sparks flying. Listen to Urfaust’s Apparitions. Dive into the world of Karl Sanders. Turn off all the lights and listen to Lisa Gerrard’s haunting voice on ‘The Love that Cannot Be’. Wake up in the morning and lose yourself in Clint Mansell’s Death is the Road to Awe. Look up Changes – We Went to Find the Sun. Oh, and BUY MUSIC. Don’t steal it, you fucks.
11) What does the coming year look like for you and your vision?
Well, Diana, I hate this world. I do not like it here – it doesn’t feel right. But I am here, nonetheless. Maybe there is a place in this world that I’m supposed to be…but it is not that simple. The world I belong to, is one I must create. And that is what I will do.