For those who know him best he is a gentle and kind character, secretly optimistic. It is said that his work offers endless comfort among the souls that are never quite sane in the night. Hailing from the depths of nowhere he derives inspiration from the unloved, the hopeless, the dreamless, disenchanted, dispossessed, and neglected. A master of macabre rhymes and morose artwork with a splatter of whimsy, Zombienose welcomes all who wander into his murky world…
Q. How long have you been making dolls, and what kind of art dolls do you create?
A. I first created my Zombienose artwork in 2006 and haven’t stopped since. Most of the time people prefer my figurative wall sculptures, but I also make full figure art dolls. The wall sculptures usually feature figures from the waist up but I also make more condensed models consisting of just heads and hands peeping out from a frame.
Q. What is your primary medium/ What is your favorite supply to work with?
A. I use Magic Sculpt quite a bit, which is a two part epoxy resin putty that sets slow enough to allow you to sculpt details. Once it hardens it can be sanded or cut into. It can also be added to after it has hardened.
Q. Are you self taught or did you learn another way? Do you have training in any art field that you use in your doll making?
A. I’m self taught for the most part. I’ve been making art since I was a child so I learned mostly by doing it. There were a few art classes in school, but they were limited to playdough. When I discovered Sculpey that really started my interest in sculpting because I could keep the sculptures permanently after baking them! I used to sculpt monster maquettes based on creatures from 1980’s horror movies as well as some other movie characters. The figures I make now were a culmination of those early sculptures, animated cartoons and characters I was painting for group art shows in Los Angeles. As I continued with the art shows, the sculpted figures became more popular than my paintings and eventually became my main focus. Last year I bought a 3D printer and I now use it to print small props and costume pieces for my sculptures.
Q. Where does your inspiration come from?
A. Music and books. What else is there?
Q. What art do you most identify with?
A. Hmmm, that’s an interesting questions. I really enjoy the paintings of Chagall and the work of Cezanne.
Q. How has your practice changed over time?
A. I’ve refined my process to make it quicker and more efficient so I can produce more work throughout the year. I usually am working on several pieces at a time so I try to line them up assembly line style. I’ll use red paint on each head where it is required for the character, if at all.
Q. Do you have a favorite doll that you’ve made?
A. Looking over all of my characters, it’s difficult to choose one. I’m usually always pleased with the latest pieces I’ve produced, but I do have a couple of favorites. Of my own characters I like “Sweetoof” and “Shady Hawkins”. Of the works I based on fictional characters I was pleased with my version of Humpty Dumpty titled, “Mr. Koo Koo Kachoo” and my Haunted Mansion tribute piece, “Liberoachie”.
Q. What is your favorite part of making your dolls?
A. The final product, of course! I like looking at the heads after I’ve painted them but once they’re fully outfitted they really come to life!
Q. What is the most difficult aspect in your process, and how you manage it?
A. Hair work is the most difficult. This is due to the styling that is sometimes required. I’ve used Fabri-tac to attach the hair to the heads, then thinned down the Fabri-tac to act as a sort of hair gel to style it, using a small brush. It dries rigid and is transparent. Any shine can be matted down after it dries.
Q. How do you overcome a creative block?
A. Walk away from the work for a short while. Look at it with fresh eyes and a clear mind.
Q. What advice would you give new doll artists?
A. Do your best to make the doll look like it has personality and will come to life at any moment!
Q. Do you have any tips on marketing art dolls?
A. I wish I did. Besides any level of social media blitz you can accomplish the only tip in terms of marketing that I’ve found effective is finding a target audience for your work. Initially I didn’t market my work or gear my style toward a target audience but somehow stumbled into the Halloween art realm. This could be because I had participated in some themed shows featuring the Haunted Mansion and have just gravitated to horror themes naturally.
Q. What research do you do before you create a doll?
A. I use the internet to research time period costumes and props, depending on the design of the character or whether a client has requested a specific character. Other than that, I apply my own style and do what feels right.
Q. What is your dream project? or who would you love to do collaboration with?
A. I am hoping to generate an original stop-motion based short film using my characters. I’ve made two puppets so far, but before I can really get started I must finish off some commission works.
Q. Do you sketch, write a story, or follow some other practice when coming up with the concept for your art dolls?
A. Many times I work with an idea for a character and it evolves as it’s being built. But I also will do a simple sketch when I need to convey the specifications of the idea to a collaborator.
Q. Do you have tips or tricks to take great photos of your dolls?
A. Having a professional photographer would be ideal! But if you don’t, use a real camera and adjustable lens along with photography lights that you can position. Close up photos on some of the features helps to show off the details and work. Another good trick, which I should do more of, is set dressing, by which I mean adding some extra props around the doll to help show it off.
Q. What are you currently working on?
A. Unfortunately I cannot share what I’m currently working on but I can share the latest commission work I made for a client. I simply titled him, “The Monster”.
Q. What other art do you create? .What do you do for fun?
A. In addition to the dolls, I paint portraits, I’ve made life sized displays, latex Halloween masks & costumes, puppets, props for short films & music videos as well as using digital software to sculpt and 3D print.
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