The Bearded What
In the summer of 2009, five artists from the Midwest formed a collaborative art group called “The Bearded What.” This collaborative is based on a combined interest in popular culture, art making, and Heavy Metal music. According to critic Jon Pareles of the New York Times, “heavy metal is a major subspecies of hard-rock—the breed with less syncopation, less blues, more showmanship and more brute force.” The lyrical themes often address dark and depressing subject matter, death, occult references, and Nordic myths through aggressive lyrics and imagery. Similarly, the artists of “The Bearded What” share a graphic and aggressive approach to art making. Though the work of each artist gravitates toward different categories of Metal, tight connections remain within each member’s production. Whether directly borrowing from Metal song lyrics, logos or bands, or more broadly from themes of the counter culture, death, and decay, each artist merges their influences in a richly layered and visually saturated style.