By Tammie Parker
I came across a pair of TWD themed Eclectic Goods shoes on a page on fb. And it was like I found the love of my life!! LOL seriously I was shouting, 'WHY. am I just finding these??' Eclectic Goods is actually a power couple of KICK-ASS comic nerds, gamers, comic-conners, and cartoon lovers! I swear I'm going to move in with them!!! Now they are doing caps and totes. #LOVE
Nicole Robinson, owner and artist, agreed to answer a few questions.
House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started drawing and painting?
Nicole Robinson: To be honest it wasn’t until I was an adult in my 20s that I tried to paint anything. I used to doodle and draw here and there growing up but never anything serious. My husband has been my biggest teacher and whatever talent I do have I learned from him.
HoTS: Where did you learn to draw? Did you take classes?
NR: I took art classes in high school and one in college. Also I have had some amazing people throughout my life with various talents that taught me many things. Jack, my partner and husband has had some training at an Art Institute in Florida which he was kind enough to share with me. Before him I had no idea about mixing colors, shading, or a lot of technique skills that are really valuable. I would just grab a brush and start painting. He taught about what size brush and what type of brush I needed. He has really been my mentor in all this.
HoTS: When did you fall in love with horror art? (TWD, Pennywise, etc) Why?
NR: Growing up, my father was a huge influence on how my interest were formed. Halloween was always a big deal in our house. He had a love for the Stephen King Universe and my first horror movie was IT. Pennywise scared me to the core. It has always been a lot of fun for me and I enjoy creating the same type of memories with my kids. Watching horror movies and shows like The Walking Dead is just good old fashioned fun for me. Horror art is an expression of that and gives me an outlet. It always the most fun when it something I really enjoy.
NR: A little of both. Just depends on what we are painting that day.
NR: Pennywise the Clown will always hold a special place in my heart. I find Regan from The Exorcist really scary. There is something really frightening about innocence gone wrong.
HoTS: Do you do comic cons? Or art shows? (I know the answer to a lot of these, so don't think I'm senile.)
NR: We do comic con type events for the most part. This past summer we had booths at Scares That Care in Williamsburg, Va and Walker Stalker Con New Jersey. Both of which were beyond amazing to us and we can’t wait to return. We have also done a few others like Wizard World and Tidewater Comic Con. We don’t have anything coming up except for attending Scares That Care in July 2017.
HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
NR: We are on Etsy! Our shop is: Ecletic Goods.
HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or a Twitter acct, so we can keep up with your work?
NR: Yes, check us out here:
NR: Right now we are getting some new designs together for Halloween and preparing for the holidays. We have a new Hellraiser design and The Exorcist coming as well as a Walking Dead Rick and Daryl high top in the works.
HoTS: What are some of your pastimes outside of drawing?
NR: I play The Sims 3. Most of my free time is spent with my family. I have two amazing girls that keep me pretty busy. I do yoga and enjoy crafting.
Alright since this is the end of our Q&A with Nicole Robinson, let me just throw in another pair of TWD shoes.
By Tammie Parker
Scott Spillman has an incredible, amazingly unique touch that makes his work ONE OF A KIND. His work with color makes it easy for you to fall in love. The best part is that he does a collection of The Walking Dead characters! (Have I mentioned lately I'm OBSESSED with TWD?) This unique color pattern works phenomenally with the gloom of the dystopia that is The Walking Dead. Blending these bright, cheerful colors into the Zombie Apocalypse could not be pulled off by any other artist!! Then add in his talent in detail that make even his black and whites so realistic!!
Scott's first TWD painting was Michonne. He packed 20 prints with him to the convention he was going to hand his work over to Danai. He sold all 20 prints in about 30 minutes.
Since then he has done several of the main cast members. The next one in line is Jesus.
**My favorites (at the moment) are 'Summer' (most of us know her as 'Teddy Bear Girl') and Sgt. Abraham Ford in black and white!
Scott puts his artwork on several different types of items himself. Down right to putting the screenprints on the t-shirts! I have his link at the top of this piece, and all of his links are in our Q&A.
House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started to draw?
Scott Spillman: I started drawing at a very early age. I have a couple drawings from when I was four.
HoTS: Where did you learn to draw? Did you take classes?
SS: I'm self taught when it comes to the drawing and painting, but I do have a degree in Commercial Art, that was mainly logo design and computer programs though.
HoTS: When and why did you fall in love with drawing The Walking Dead?
SS: I've been a fan of the show since the pilot episode. The first five minutes of the show had me hooked when Rick had to kill "Summer" (Addy Miller). Which I'm good friends with her and her mom now.
HoTS: Do you draw in pencil on canvas or draw on the computer?
SS: I use the computer to find my reference and then adjust it to fit my composition. I then print it out at about six inches tall in black and white, mount it to my easel and start drawing on the canvas with pencil. After that I apply layers of acrylic paint over it.
SS: Frankenstein is my favorite "monster" but I've always been a fan of Freddie Krueger too. There's also a lot of walkers on the show that I love.
SS: I try to do at least one comic con a month. Mainly, I've been following the Walker Stalker cons around the country.
HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or Twitter accounts so we can keep up with your work?
SS: Yes. My fan page is https://www.facebook.com/Scott.Spillman.Art/ . You can also "follow" me here: https://www.facebook.com/SCOTT.SPILLMAN.ARTIST (I already reached the 5,000 max limit).
Instagram - Spillmanfineart
HoTS: You have a very unique, original talent with color play. What piece was your first? How did the concept come about?
SS: I've always worked in a lot of different styles. I was working on a series of portraits at the time where the look of the painting fit the subject matter. Marilyn Monroe was black and white with a little pop of color and James Dean was in sepia tones. I then came to Jim Morrison of the Doors and all the colors came out. When I was finished, I said to myself "THIS IS IT" it's hard to explain, but I just knew THIS was my style. Everything I've painted since then has been done in my signature style.
By Tracie Hill Prichard
For someone who loves horror movies, what could be better than having photos made that capture you in the starring role? There are plenty of opportunities out there. Taking a stroll through an Internet or Facebook search brings up a wealth of possibilities for one to play out their darkest desires.
Personally, I've always enjoyed the horror fun of Joshua Hoffine's work as he uses his daughters to capture the elements of nightmares through his photography. A few years ago, I discovered the Facebook page of Locked Illusions Photography out of Houston, Texas. Artist Brit Bentine creates unique works of horror and fantasy art for clients that largely consist of kids and families. What better way to connect to your siblings and parents than to be made up in gore and dark creativity? Brit creates unique experiences for her clients as well as selling special works of art through her Etsy shop.
It has recently come to my attention that there are plenty of photographers who relish in the world of horror and macabre. There are packages available including horror makeovers consisting of costumes, props, sets, makeup, hair, and of course gore! Horror fun can be experienced by anyone, not just the actor, model, or convention cosplayer.
A simple Facebook search will lead you to such fun creative pages as Horrify Me - Horror Photography and Portraits which is the award winning artistry of Rick Jones. In the UK, you can book horror shoots with Rick, including horror staples such as zombies, vampires, and demons as well as dark boudoir or anything else horrifying that your dark twisted heart desires. If it is movie quality horror you are looking for, Rick and his team deliver.
Another horror photographer in the UK worth checking out is Danielle Tunstall Photography. She uses a blend of photography and graphic design that is truly unique. Gothic Horror fans will love the work of Amanda Norman Horror Photography based in Liverpool. Beautiful images in cemeteries - both in color and black and white - fill her page. If you are in or near Vancouver, British Columbia, you can book a nightmare inspired shoot with Danielle Anathema from Anathema Photography. From freakish puppets to bizarre mermaids and everything in between, Danielle has got you covered. In the US, check out Emerson Quinn of Horror Photography and Blood Magazine, from Albany, New York. Emerson has consultations available to help you choose between the psychotic hunter and the defenseless victim in your original horror portrait.
There are many horror photography experts and makeup artists offering you many opportunities to try your hand at a starring role in your own piece of dark art or your nightmare-inspired keepsake. These are just a few of the artists I have recently discovered. Be sure to check their Facebook pages and websites for bookings and pricing information in your area.
Don't forget to show theses artists some love by liking their work on their Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages.
By John Roisland
I first met Brian Dunn last year in 2015 in Richmond, VA, at The Scares That Care Charity Weekend Event. I'm a state rep for STC and was a volunteer at the convention. Upon making rounds, saying hello to the vendors and so forth, I came across a young man with a very serious look on his face who was standing in front of an Lazy Susan and sculpting. I didn't want to break his concentration, so I handed my business card to the gentleman who was with him and just watched in amazement.
Brian Dunn is creator/artist/sculptor and owner of ALTER-EGO-DEZINES. Brian is a sculptor who creates not only iconic and well known designs but creates amazing objects of art with his own creativity, imagination, and ideas hiding in the back of his mind. Brian started at a very young age and was influenced by horror movies and Halloween masks. Moving forward through the years, he studied many other artists' styles until he mastered his own.
Brian does do commission pieces as well as his own creative work. I must admit that watching him, or any other artist, reproduce the image of a known work is really cool. But when they offer you their own original work (especially when it's so creative and really brings a life of its own to the world as Brian's does), it's a mind blowing experience. The sculpting alone will sell you on his work, but when he puts his final air-brushing details to a piece it's absolutely amazing!
The young artist hails from the Philadelphia area and can be found vending at many conventions on the East Coast, as well as some in the Midwest. I most recently ran into Brian when he was set up as a live artist /vendor at Monster Mania in New Jersey this past March. Brian and I spoke for a few moments and he said the show was going pretty good for him, and apparently it was as I was quickly pushed out of the way by other onlookers who were all taken by the work of Brian Dunn and ALTER-EGO-DEZINES.
Keep It Evil
The Man Who Carves Awesomeness
By Machete Von Kill
Since 2009, Alex Wer, aka The Pumpkin Geek, has been carving far more complex jack-o-lanterns than then average carver. Then again, Wer is far from average. After carving a pumpkin for his wife's office open house, Alex discovered he could make money with his pumpkin art.
He's carved pumpkins for celebrities like Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, American Horror Story), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager, Dracula 2000) and Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Prom Night). Wer has carved everything from logos to an impressive battle scene between an Imperial Star Destroyer and X-Wing Starfighters. He's been hired by Netflix for a social media campaign, by Legacy Entertainment for a few movie premiers, and, most recently, Wizard World Comic Con.
I recently got the chance to interview The Pumpkin Geek. Having been a fan since seeing a Joe Mantegna pumpkin posted on the actor's Twitter account a few years back, I was stoked to be able to speak to the 2014 Geekie Award winner. The following is that interview:
House of Tortured Souls: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me! I know you started doing conventions 7 years ago, but when did you discover you had so much talent carving pumpkins?
Pumpkin Geek: I always enjoyed carving pumpkins & simply started getting more intricate over the years. Wanted to be the cool neighbor on the block! My wife asked me to carve her company logo for an Open House in October, so I decided to try carving on "craft" pumpkins sold at Michael's. They last forever so I thought the office could use it each year. It was a simple design, but everyone was impressed & I got 35 orders that night, all by accident!
HoTS: Were you taught/trained by anyone or was it a series of trial and error?
PG: I was really into Comic Books as a kid and spent hours drawing & tracing Spider-Man...that's pretty much the extent of my training. Simply came from a love from superheroes.
HoTS: How long did it take you to start getting exposure and making money with them?
PG: Well, the first night at the Open House, obviously. But, as I improved over the next year, I decided to try selling my work at a Star Trek Convention in Vegas. I was pretty nervous I wouldn't sell anything, but realized, my main goal was to get exposure for what I did. Surprising, I did really well at the convention, and had several Trek actors, including Zachary Quinto, come to my booth to check out what I did. Some of the celebs actually ordered carves & starting posting about me...Talk about geeking out!
HoTS: Did you set out with the goal of making a profit or was it just a bonus that came along with the hobby?
PG: Originally, it was just for fun, but after doing my first convention, I realized that people were really into my work. Since I do everything custom orders, people were really able to celebrate their ultimate fandom at Halloween.
HoTS: How many pumpkins would you say you carve in an average October? Do you carve them year round or only in the fall?
PG: Between June and October, I carve about 175 or so, depending on my schedule. I do carve year round, but much less "off season".
HoTS: How many would you guess you have carved over your lifetime?
PG: I would say over 1,000 in the last six plus years, for sure. Never gets old doing it...too much fun!
HoTS: Any favorites? Any that you'd really love to carve but haven't been asked yet?
PG: Spider-Man, because he was a childhood hero & Heath Ledger's Joker (which is on my business card), because his performance was so amazing. But there are many others. Anything new, that introduces me into a new fandom that I hadn't discovered yet. The villains & horror carves are always fun, because they really stand out at Halloween.
HoTS: Do you get a little star struck with some of your more famous clients? Any favorite or stories you'd like to share?
PG: I have been VERY fortunate in meeting many celebrities because of what I do. I wouldn't say I am star struck, but I am VERY humbled that they want to meet ME. Jeri Ryan & Ming-Na Wen have been the 2 kindest, and coolest, celebrities to me over the years. They post about my work, use their carves as avatars on Twitter, and have even requested meeting me.
HoTS: Any celebrities you'd really like to carve for?
PG: So many! I'm hoping to be the "carver to the stars" eventually!
HoTS: How much do you love Halloween? Would you say it is your favorite holiday?
PG: Halloween is certainly a favorite because of what I do. Mostly because I get to make a lot of people happy with my work. I guess I'm the Orange Santa in October. Although, I do love Christmas probably a bit more.
HoTS: Do you still carve pumpkins for your own Halloween decorations or do you skip that now?
HoTS: Favorite conventions you've been to? What's your favorite part of the convention scene?
PG: Well, my favorite would have to be Wizard World Comic Con. I did their con last year in Portland and ended up getting HIRED by them to be their National Sales Manager! They loved the fact that I had been doing cons for several years, and I had a background in sales, so got hire that weekend. Not only did I have a great con selling my carves, back came back with a job where I get to find vendors & artists to do Comic Cons now.
HoTS: What are you working on now?
PG: I was hired by Rancho Obi-Wan (the largest Star Wars museum in the country), to do a large number of carves for their Gallaween event this year & they are actually having me as a guest of honor! Also, ESPN hired me to do the Sunday Night Countdown crew & World Series. Other than that, custom orders, including a few weddings and proposals!
HoTS: Where can people stay in touch with you, follow your work and commission you for custom jobs?
PG: I'm always on Twitter or can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HoTS: Anything you'd like to say to your fans?
PG: I really appreciate everyone that has admired my work over the years. I have a LOT of supporters on social media that have always cheered me on, encourage me, and been so excited with my success. It's very flattering to know that people really enjoy what I do.
HoTS: And finally, since I ask everyone this and you are no exception, Freddy or Jason? Who's the bigger horror badass?
PG: Freddy. Aside from being a badass, he's got a great sense of humor.
Thanks again, Alex, for taking the time to speak to me! Happy carving and happy Halloween!