I blame my enthusiasm for the weird and mysterious on Scooby-Doo. During the late 70s – before cartoons were a 24-hour luxury that kids took for granted – I couldn’t wait to get to up on Saturday mornings to watch my favorite hippies, the Scooby Gang, hunt for ghosts and chase vampires.
Fast-forward thirty-something years, and I now find myself creating one-of-a-kind Halloween and horror folk art. My main focus is sculpting with paper clay and other air-dry forms of clay, but I also enjoy altered art (the transformation of everyday objects into works of art), paper art, and assemblage. Each piece is completely unique and never reproduced. I named my art studio My BrainChild.
I started my art career with a graphic design degree from The Art Institute of Atlanta. After working for 20 plus years in print and web design, I became interested in mixed media, and in 2010 I tried sculpting for the first time. I was instantly hooked on the medium, which actually astounded me. I never thought I’d be any good with clay or three dimensional forms. I surprised myself.
I draw my inspiration from film, cartoons, my travels, and literature. The work of Tim Burton has been a huge influence, as have countless illustrators of children’s books like Rhode Montijo and Grim Grisly. I find myself constantly taking mental notes of elements from horror movies and television shows that I might incorporate into a future art work.
My art is also inspired by memories of a happy childhood that was filled with fun and imagination, of Halloweens past when my dad would lead my younger brother and me through the hilly streets of our neighborhood in Tennessee to trick-or-treat. Back then – as it is now – Halloween was a magical time. I’m still captivated by the colors, smells, and sights of this time of year.[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]I find myself constantly taking mental notes of elements from horror movies and television shows that I might incorporate into a future art work.[/quote]
My sculptures are created with different forms of air dry clay that are light and durable. I spend hours forming the clay over a sturdy armature, then let the piece dry. Sanding the entire work to ensure a smooth finish usually requires an hour or more. Finally, I use acrylics to paint the piece and seal it with a matte varnish.
One of the best experiences I’ve had as an artist has been my participation as an artist at the Red River Revel Arts Festival in northwest Louisiana. I won a Juror Award during my first year as a vendor at the festival, and the response to my sculptures by customers and other artists was very positive and encouraging.
I have since had my work featured in a gallery in New Orleans, and I have sold several pieces online.
One of my favorite pieces I’ve created is a Krampus sculpture, which sold at one of the festivals a few years ago. Krampus is a creepy Christmas character originating in Bavaria and parts of Austria. His purpose is to travel alongside Santa on Christmas Eve and punish the children who’ve been naughty all year! My Krampus holds a small child upside down in one hand, and carries switches in the other. He looks menacing, but there’s also a playful tone to the piece.
I’m excited about a new project I am completing this month. I illustrated a children’s book written by an author in L.A., and it should be released around Halloween this year. It has a horror and adventure theme, and I love the characters I sculpted for it. The “illustrations” are photos I took of the three-dimensional forms I created. I can’t wait to introduce the project to the public later this month!
Currently, my work can be found online at www.facebook.com/mybrainchild.