Zombienose: An Interview with the Artist
AND THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT.
The artist behind zombienose is somewhat of a mystery. His/her talent is apparent. The animated and imaginative characters he/she creates, their haunting yet darkly sweet qualities, and their unique noses clearly distinguishes them as zombienose originals. The artist has chosen to stay anonymous not only for privacy concerns but also to ensure the spotlight falls on his/her artwork, and not on him/her as an artist. The artwork and artist, nevertheless, are one in the same. After all, his/her creations lend us a glimpse into his/her inventive and fantastical mind. I was thrilled of course for the opportunity to unravel a bit more of the mystery surrounding this fascinating artist.
What inspires you?
Music in all forms. Old people, sugar, ghosts. Dr. Seuss and Edward Gorey. Definitely Al Columbia! Many other artists and the ending of the movie Rocky.
I believe we're all born as artists, but some people give it up early on.
How and when did you first get started as an artist?
I believe we're all born as artists, but some people give it up early on. Fortunately for me, my grandmother liked the crayon murals I made on the walls of her home so I had a lot of encouragement. After 15 years in the Makeup FX industry, my friend Chet Zar began showing his art in galleries. He encouraged me to do the same. Clive Barker had suggested that he show his artwork so I guess Chet was paying it forward. This was around 2005, I think. I had published a series of novelty storybooks known as the Zombienose Collection (available on Amazon.com) with the pen name Zombienose and he also suggested I keep that name. It's a silly name but it's easy to remember.
What is the most challenging part about creating your artwork?
Making the time to do it. I tend to bog myself down with countless projects because I like the variety. It prevents me from getting bored but slows my progress on individual pieces. That being said, I won't change. Another challenge can be the deadlines for any given gallery exhibits.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
It might surprise people to find out that I eat children. Not really.
Can you tell me a bit more about these creations - the process you took to make them, what inspired you to make them etc.
The series of Haunted Mansion artworks I've done were initially for an annual Haunted Mansion Tribute Art exhibition at the Parlour Gallery inside the fantastic Halloween Town in Burbank, CA. There were many other great artists in the show as well. The pieces I made for this show were usually quite intricate and involved. One of my favorite pieces was my version of the Organist ghost which I titled, "Liberoachie". Originally I wanted this piece to play music and the ghosts' arms would be mechanically animated (a cd player would be placed inside the organ and gears spinned to operate the arms). Unfortunately, I ran out of time and had to deliver the piece in static form. The Ally Gal ghost was another one, which I called, "Tight Rope". I also did the "Gravedigger", which had lanterns that would light up and the singing statues which would light up as well titled, "Quartet". This was quite a popular series and I hope to do more in the future.
"Inner Child" is an acrylic painting I did years ago. The thought behind this piece was that of innocence beneath an unpleasant exterior. I put a bow tie on him to emphasize his desire to be accepted. I gave this piece to a very dear friend as a wedding gift. I also made the sculptural equivolent and titled it, "Inner Beauty".
How has your practice changed over time? (or has it?)
As the years have gone by I've streamlined my process a lot. I can plan the construction of pieces a little better, too. I've learned to make my new sculptures more durable because they go through a lot of trauma when I ship them to shows or their new prospective owners. Also, I plan the artworks out a little more than I used to.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
I was once told by a gallery curator that sculpture is more difficult to sell than paintings. That is why I place many of my sculpture in frames that can hang from a wall. This advice has served me well, although I have made a few free standing pieces, too.
Most interesting critique you have ever received regarding your works?
I was told once that there is a sweetness to the characters in my work. I like that. That is intentional and I was quite surprised that anyone even noticed.
When you think of the concept of 'the artist's ego', what comes to mind?
It reminds me to never let my picture be taken and let the work speak for itself. Hopefully people get some enjoyment out of it.
Most difficult part about being an artist?
Selling work and getting paid a fair price. Also, constantly coming up with new ideas and trying not to repeat yourself. There are countless artists out there whose work far surpasses mine, so trying not to feel inferior is also difficult.
Why do you think there is a growing interest in macabre and grotesque art?
The macabre and grotesque have always been interesting to me so it doesn't seem much different than usual. But I think it may be that the 'Tim Burton' generation has grown up and now have money to decorate their living spaces with macabre and grotesque style.