Blood, skulls, eyeballs, creppy dolls, blonde vixens, pirates, spiders, bones, flowers, insects, coffins, poison... I could go on with this list, making you wonder if I am talking about a horror movie or my weekend plans, but I won't keep you guessing. Making this list had me singing “These are a few of my favorite things”, though something tells me that if this is what that song was really about, the Von Trapps would be still looking for a new governess. Long story short, this list is filled with images used by Denise Mattox in her art. Denise is the owner of Wicked Alterations on Etsy. She, much like myself, enjoys using darker images like zombies and blood versus rainbows and kittens. I was able to get to know Denise a little bit better and pick her brain on horror hitting prime time television. So, without further delay, here is my interview with Denise Mattox of Wicked Alterations.
My name is Denise Mattox and I live with my Sis and my Dad, just north of the river from Kansas City, Mo. in Riverside. Nice little town and minutes away from the beautiful City Market area. I love the old buildings.
I grew up on the Kansas side of the metro, in Kansas City, Kans. That always throws people off, two towns with the same name but two different states. I graduated in 1973 and my best subject was of course Art.
I have two grown children, my son Marc lives in Houston and my daughter Jessica lives in Overland Park Kansas. We are planning my daughters wedding and my son is going to celebrate his first wedding anniversary real soon. Sometimes I hate the fact they're all grown-up, but other times I'm glad they are happy with there lives.
1. What types of items do you make and sell and how long have you been making mixed media pieces?
I make all kinds of things. I love my tin of prisma colored pencils. I've been known to panic if I can't find them. I go ape shit. So I keep them where I can find them, on my table. In my shop I have prints of, "Tommy Blues" and "Tiles" which are colored pencil drawings. I started making my shadow boxes after my Sis brought home a collection of books of vintage pin up girls. And my creativity went from there. I have sold several of these to people I work with and at the City Market Antique Mall. I guess I've been doing these for a couple of years now.
2. When you get an idea for a piece, where does your inspiration typically come from?
Inspiration is a funny thing, I might draw from pictures, drawings; I'm a very visual person. I collect public pictures from google images, facebook, or art books. But when I get stuck, the creativity drys up, I go to the Nelson Art Gallery and sit in front of my favorite Jackson Pollack painting and silently ask Jackson to help me out. Usually this works after I walk around and look at the same paintings I've seen hundreds of times. I love Jackson.
3. Mixed media pieces are becoming more and more commonly seen, especially with darker imagery like bones, bloodied razor blades, and even actual human hair. It's obvious that people love and enjoy this type of art, but why do you think that is?
I really don't know why we enjoy the darker side of art, books or film. I know I prefer the images of skulls over images of bunnies or babies. What does that say about me? In high school I read In Cold Blood instead of Great Expectations. I laught my ass off at Jack Nichalson when he was the Jocker in the first Batman. I loved his one liners. Sometimes in Tim Burton movies I laugh until I cry. Or when I watch an old horror film, they crack me up.
4. Are you working on anything new that you would like to share with my readers?
New for me, I'm always trying something new to see if I like it. Right now I'm working on resin jewelry. I know everyone and there dog is doing this, but I bought 1 inch square blank bezel cabochons that I'm putting little paintings in them, and pour resin, and threading ball chains through the loop and all is good. I started with a zombie and a skull one. I'm hoping they are inviting enough that people will look at my other items.
5. Your jewelry is really impressive. Each set is different and has its own unique style. Where do your ideas for making these pieces come from? A color? A mood? A book you're reading? And how do you put that idea into a necklace?
In my shop right now, I have five necklace and earring sets. These my sis made them for me. She makes beautiful sets that she wears and sells herself. She calls them her hippy beads, but they are a lot nicer then that. I told her what I wanted and she made these beautiful victorian style jewelry. I love them. I guess I like the darker jewelry too, Gothic, Victorian. It was amazing how quickly she was able to put them together with parts and beads she already had. I really thought they would be sold by now.
6. Aside from the art and pieces of jewelry you have for sale in your shop, are there any other types of arts and crafts that you haven't tried out that you are thinking of getting into? Maybe a new technique you haven't used before that you are interested in?
I love lowbrow, surreal, and the abstract. I want to develop a signature style using these three that when people see it they have to say, That has to be a Denise Mattox. Hahaha! Before I die. I'm not much on technique, and I have knitted cross-stitched, paper-mache, I've been thinking about doing that again. I love painting, that's my first love.
7. Now onto the horror questions! What is your favorite kind of horror movie? Ghost stories? Vampires? Demons? Exorcisms? Witches?
Yes, now for the horror, the horror of it all! I like scary movies. In the eighties and nineties I did get pretty tired of the slasher movies, got really numb by it all. The bad ones I thought were funny. I like ghost stories, vampires, (if they look like Gary Oldman) I can't look at an exorcisms with out thinking about the green pea soup on The Exorcist.
8. Are there any upcoming horror movies that you can't wait to see in theaters? What are they and why?
I don't really go to the theater to see horror movies. I watch at home because can't get any one to go with me. I use to rent a lot of them, but now I wait for HBO. Hahaha!
9. As a horror fan, it is hard to ignore the explosion of horror themed shows on television. It feels like Ghost Hunters got people addicted and before you knew it there were a dozen similar shows. On top of that, there are shows like The Walking Dead, True Blood, and Being Human. In what ways do you think horror hitting prime time has impacted the horror loving community, good or bad?
I haven't seen Walking Dead yet but thinking about getting it on my nook. I adore Ghost Hunters and True Blood. I hate the over acting on Ghost Adventures, what a bunch of babies! Little girls. Now its Bates Motel, now don't give it away, haven't seen it yet, but I want to. I think every one is looking for something edge of your seat and tired of the cops and the hospitals, and the murdered rich people. And lets not talk about the reality shows! Miss little booboo or what the hell her name is. Get her off, ignore that creepy kid on your TV! And the duck callers, and the swamp people, they look like old tweekers. OMG. That's why horror and science fiction are so popular! So it's good for us all!
If you want to know more about Denise and her work you can find her onFacebook and Check out her shop!
If you liked what you saw, had a question, or just want to show some love, leave a comment!