Heavy Metal Armour: A Visual Study of Battle Jackets (Book)
Customized denim battle jackets are worn by heavy metal fans to show their devotion to the music and subcultures of metal. Unique study outlines the significance of battle jackets in metal scenes and makes connections to wider historic and contemporary culture. Original paintings of jackets and photographic portraits of the wearers. 80 col. illus.
The first of its kind – original, unique and beautifully illustrated by the author. Engagingly written, it will appeal to fans and academics alike.
A lavishly illustrated study of the heavy metal battle jacket in a historical and cultural context, with a unique approach to analysis and interrogation of form and style through painting practice and theory.
Since the 1970s, customized denim 'battle jackets' have been worn by heavy metal fans to signify their devotion to the music and subcultures of metal. Embellished by the wearers with patches, badges and studs, these jackets are works of art that communicate the values of metal to the world at large. This book features a series of detailed paintings that visually document examples of jackets alongside photographic portraits of the fans that wear them.
The accompanying chapters describe the significance of battle jackets in metal scenes and trace a lineage of customized clothing starting in the Middle Ages. Connections are made with a wide range of historic and contemporary artworks, suggesting a broad context within which to more fully appreciate the significance of the jackets. The methodology spans a range of disciplines from art theory to ethnography and subcultural studies, and the discussion is informed by responses from a series of interviews conducted over the years with metal fans.
The book has a highly original focus and the author’s approach to the subject is unique. It reaches across a range of fields: the history and cultural context of heavy metal music, style and dress; art history and practice, particularly painting; subcultural studies; fashion and dress; music graphics, branding and marketing.
Tom Cardwell is an artist and researcher specialising in contemporary painting, customized clothing and heavy metal subcultures. He is senior lecturer in painting at Camberwell, University of the Arts London.
It will appeal to readers with an interest in metal subcultures; fashion, style and dress; music branding and identity; contemporary art theory and practice. The writing style and content is relaxed, engaging and will be of interest to a wider casual readership with an interest in popular culture and the arts.
A useful resource for academics and students interested in heavy metal, customized clothing/DIY subcultures, painting and visual arts. Could appeal to undergraduate as well as postgraduates and scholars in these fields, and a broader interest in visual culture.
Tom Cardwell is an artist and researcher specialising in contemporary painting, customized clothing and heavy metal subcultures. He is a senior lecturer in painting at Camberwell, University of the Arts, London.
List of Illustrations vii
1. The Importance of Battle Jackets within Metal Subcultures 15
Watercolour Paintings and Jacket Works
2. Global Battle Jacket Cultures 49
3. ‘Somewhere Back in Time’, or a Speculative History of the Battle Jacket 59
4. Examining Patches: A Heritage of Images 89
Oil Paintings and Fan Portraits
5. Setting Trends or Selling Out? Battle Jacket Appropriation in Wider Culture 105
Conclusion: ‘See My Vest!’ 125
Appendix: Notes on the Paintings 133