My cousin is a very talented woman. I’ve been meaning to blog about her work for a while, not only because it gives me a chance to blog about something that's not book related, but because it gives me the opportunity to talk about someone with a unique gift. I’m constantly impressed by the works she creates. When she threw a Samhain party last year, she went full-out creative, transforming her bathroom into a scene right from of a horror movie. Not an actual horror movie. Tiffany decorated from that creative place within where the muse often dwells. I remember talking to her on the telephone after the party. Clean-up was a process that involved a lot of bleach and several days. After all, the blood had stained the tub, the walls, and the tile. Did I mention she’d created a corpse to prop in the bath with a few well-placed (dismembered) body parts? If I ever want anyone to give me a realistic visual of a crime scene or to decorate my place for Samhain – I’ll call Tiff.
So, what exactly am I doing differently? I’m playing on the other side of the pen. By that, I mean...
I’m the one asking the questions. *Grin.*
Hope you enjoy!
Winter: So, how "real," do you think we should keep this?
Tiffany: Play it by ear. If I'm not comfy with something, (which I don't think will be an issue), I'll let you know
Winter: Well, I'm not going to ask your favorite position or anything. You're my cousin. I love you, but there are some things I just don't need to know. So, worry not! I'll tread wisely.
Tiffany: No worries.
Winter: I'm pretty sure that's staying in this. *Laughs.*
Tiffany: *Laughs.* Sure.
Winter: All right, let's begin with an introduction. I'm afraid if I introduce you, I'm going to make you sound far creepier than you really are (because I like highlighting the fact that you hide in your garage making scary monsters). Alas, I know your creative fingers stretch into areas that aren't creepy. So...
Tiffany: I think the funny thing is, if you met me on the street you'd never guess me to be the creepy art gal.
Winter: Oh, definitely not! (See: Picture of Tiffany below). Very Samantha Stevens, I think.
Tiffany: I don't have a very intimidating personality. I'm very...fluffy? I'm sweet and compassionate, quite the cry-baby.
Winter: I wouldn't say fluffy or cry-baby, as those two words are more often used negatively than positively. But, I would definitely agree that your personality is a lot different than what people might think if they only saw your work. It's a refreshing contrast. Makes me wonder how deep you have to dig to find that darkness.
Tiffany: I'm not so sure it's darkness. I don't have to dig at all.
Winter: What do you consider it to be?
Tiffany: It's almost like I'm the mad scientist. I will be working on one of my monsters in the garage, talking to it the whole time, just like it's a living entity. I grew up on horror movies and I love the visuals. That's part of it.
Winter: Do you make up stories to go along with your creations? Say, does Mister Sticky have a story? He was your first corpse, was he not?
Tiffany: Yes. Mr. Sticky was an accident. I didn't know at the time that I had that talent. I am really into Halloween and I wanted to go all out for a Halloween party I was having. I looked at all of the decorations in the store and couldn't afford any of it. So, I collected what I had laying around the house and decided to make my own. Mr. Sticky is rolled up news paper, cheese cloth, and carpet glue underneath his paint job. I was pleasantly surprised with how well he turned out. Later, I planned on making him a bride, but I haven't gotten to it just yet. Every time I have to move him around in the garage I talk to him...
Winter: I actually didn't know that (about Mister Sticky's birth). You were pleasantly surprised after creating him -- were you hooked? Did you know after making him that you would make more Corpse Creations?
Tiffany: Oh yeah! I've always loved art of any kind. Combine that with my love of Halloween and you could say that I'm hooked.
Winter: What about Samhain (Halloween) calls to you? Is it just the fun and spooky aspect or do you find another meaning in it?
Tiffany: During Samhain we are called upon to remember those who have gone before and I try to do so. I have lit candles for those loved ones that I honor. I haven't done this every year, as some years are busier than others. It certainly reminds you how small your life really is in terms of how large the universe is and how we see time. I've always been fascinated with how close we really are to those who have passed, especially on that day.
Winter: I know you've been doing art for many years. I remember your artwork hanging in our grandmother's home. When did you start drawing and realize that you had a knack for it?
Tiffany: I was always really good at coloring but I knew I had something special in the fourth grade. I remember sitting in my room drawing, I drew a Pegasus unicorn from my imagination and it looked spectacular. I immediately took it to my dad and showed him. I didn't know Mema had any of my work...
Winter: She did. It was hanging on the wall in the room closest to her bathroom. If recollection serves me well, it was a colored pencil drawing of a cross and roses. I really liked your roses. You showed me how to draw roses once, do you remember?
Tiffany: That was my trademark for the longest time! Of course I remember. I've gotten better since.
Winter: You really have. What was the title of the painting you recently finished with the skull and the rose? You blew me away with that one!
Tiffany: Eye of the Beholder. I have it hanging in my wet-bar in my living room. My husband thinks I'm going to scare people away.
Winter: *Laughs.* That's a bit of a Pennington trait, so it seems.
Tiffany: *Grins mischievously.*
Winter: You went to school for cosmetology, correct? Do you feel what you learned there has influenced your art in any way?
Tiffany: Well, I went to cosmetology school so I could do makeup. Since my sophomore year in high school I have wanted to be a makeup artist for cinema. So, that school got me closer to my goal. As far as my art goes, I do look at faces a little more technically. It's important to get the balance right and it's easier to draw or paint the human face when you understand the structure.
Winter: And you've also done make-up for a few photo shoots. In fact, I remember the first time I modeled for Anna Miller (a really awesome photographer), you were not only in charge of doing make-up (which turned out to be an all day adventure), but you also made a pair of beautiful fey/angel wings and really pitched in creatively with the costume design for the shoot.
Now be honest with me, do you really enjoy being on your feet and in someone's face for that long? Is it worth it to see the vision come alive? What do you feel when you see your ideas brought to fruition? Are you ever disappointed?
Tiffany: I don't like being in people's faces at all. You will find me with gum in my mouth when I do have to be. But I do love seeing my ideas play out. Some of my ideas have turned out better than others. I try not to waste time being disappointed because as long as I took the time to be creative, then I've learned something.
Those wings took me HOURS to make and I still have them.
Winter: Those wings were FABULOUS! Again, I was very impressed. And I have to say, you get some major brownie points for being courteous in that regard (chewing gum when you're so up-close doing make-up). Both positions can be a bit uncomfortable if you're not careful. *Laughs.*
Tiffany: Very true.
Winter: Back to your corpses, though. How many corpses total have you made and what inspired you to start your business, Corpse Creations?
Tiffany: So far, I have four in my collection and I have donated one to a friend. After Mister Sticky, I attempted Mrs. Sticky. I got the dimensions of the torso - oh, so wrong. So, it became the dismembered burned man that I used in my bathtub last Halloween. Then I worked on a clown named Bones MacPhearsome. He's awesome. I then worked on an idea I had in my head for over a year. It's a troubled being coming out of a framed piece of wall art. The last was the most difficult to make. I made a demon. He stands over six feet tall and has these expansive wings. As far as Corpse Creations being a business, it's more like a hobby. I have dreams of it becoming a full-fledged business someday.
Winter: And what about your paintings? Many of them are viewable on Corpse Creations' Facebook page, right? Will you continue on in both areas? Do you find it difficult to balance the painting VS corpse creating, or just go where the muse beckons?
Wait, are you even five feet? *Ducks.* (For those that don't know, my cousin is quite short).
Tiffany: I've had to do what the muse tells me. Some of my painting is a little darker so it works well posting it with Corpse Creations. The other more spiritual work is on another page of mine called Artistic Visions by Tiffany. I've been on a painting kick for a very long time now. I haven't worked on a corpse since last October. The muse is just wanting me to develop in as many ways as possible.
*Sticks tongue out.* I'm 4'11"!
Winter: I know, I know. Considering I'm only a few inches taller (another Pennington gift) -- I've no right to cast stones here. *Laughs.* However, I wanted to point out the fact that I was pretty sure, if you were making a 6ft tall demon, you were up on a ladder. *Grins.* I've got to highlight your dedication to your craft, you know.
Tiffany: I did spend some time on a ladder after the wings were put in place. I actually applied the carpet glue to the wings while they were attached to the frame of the body. You should have heard all the cursing coming from my garage during the making of the demon. Only fitting, I guess.
Winter: Well, you were working with a demon. Apparently, you start channeling bits and pieces of your art?
Tiffany: Ha! It felt like I was channeling more than one demon!
Winter: I can send a vampire and a lycanthrope over. I'm fresh out of exorcists, though.
Tiffany: I kept asking myself what I was thinking making those wings...I would like to create a vampire. Not sure about a lycanthrope. I like to be as realistic as possible.
Winter: Yeah, and that would be very difficult, methinks. Well, I know it's getting late for you (not everyone's keen on the vampire schedule). So, we'll start wrapping this up. Do you have any plans for future projects?
Tiffany: I've been asked to be one of three featured artists in a Halloween show this coming year. I had an idea of showing how disconnected we have become by using a corpse family and setting them up around a dining room table. That's all the information I can give out on that event. I am working on a zombie child, however. I also have some paintings in the making. Time will tell.
Winter: And I'm going to get my Sheela-Na-Gig and Zombie Breasts, right? *Smiles sweetly.*
Tiffany: Heehee, that's the plan!
Winter: Marvelous! I truly look forward to seeing what you create next, Tiffany. Thanks so much for letting me play on this side of the pen. I appreciate it!
Tiffany: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I always enjoy chatting with you.
Winter: That's a good thing, considering!
Note: The picture of Tiffany, Sticky, and Bones are courtesy of Anna Miller.