Visceral Visionaries has reared its eerily beautiful head here in The Vault of Horror, but this time I'm bringing you a particular creator whom I've been planning to interview for many months now. And now, it's finally come together, so it brings me great pleasure to bring her work to you.
Her name is Jennifer OZe (a.k.a. Ozehoski), and she is the mastermind behind Concocted Curioddities, a line of truly unusual and striking dolls and other toys that are just catnip to a fan of the bizarre such as myself. Described as "the marriage of a doll/bear maker and a certified special effects/makeup artist [Jennifer's husband Randy] who hope to bring a little strangeness to your world," Concocted Curioddities provides a delightful glimpse into a truly creative, horror-oriented mind--which is what Visceral Visionaries is all about...
How did Concocted Curioddities get started?
C.C. has gone through
many ups and downs--rising from the ashes, so to speak. It started out simply as creating to keep myself busy, a
hobby. Friends and friends of friends started noticing; soon, more people
outside my circle wanted my concoctions. So it started off as presents (Handmade is way better than store bought, I think.) Then I
actually had people offer to pay for what I created! So with a simple
hobby comes product, then comes fans, they become customers and that
starts business. That creates demand, and BOOM Concocted Curioddities was
What inspires you? Whose work do you admire?
There isn't enough space to blog on what inspires me! But, I'd have to say mainly it's scary
stories--fairy tales like Brothers Grimm with their macabre morals and
twisted views, half in fiction half in
reality. They were the first horror writers! Legends, myths, vintage toys, taxidermy, old discarded stuffed
animals, skeletons, flea markets. Pretty much anything I can do to evoke
someone's inner child and bring sentiment or nostalgic thoughts back
just by looking, feeling, or being around my creations, makes it well
worth the effort! Adults should always be able to return to childhood again and that's the thought that drives me to create!
Who do you admire?
Mary Blair, Conceptual Artist for Walt Disney, created some of the
most beautifully eerie art. Her use of abstracts and color really influenced
me to keep my childish imagination intact!
Mark Ryden, for
his impact on surrealism. He uses almost the same inspirations I do, which makes his art captivating and nostalgic, just as I try to do with
my art and dollies!
Stephen King, probably the most important,
saved for last! He had a humble start, and sheer persistance in knowing
exactly what he wanted to do helped him expand himself in his
chosen path until he did exactly what he dreamed! I only wish to have and
keep the same focus and drive--always tweeking, always experimenting, and
constantly adding just as much thought and detail into my creations as
Do you consider your work to be art?
say it's Art. I get inspired, I daydream, I sketch, then research and hunt
down exactly what I envision for materials. I work out how to do it, while sometimes reinventing or scrapping ideas along the way, then
watch it come to life!
What are your favorite materials to work with?
materials are vintage fabrics, vintage buttons, bones and skulls, clays, vintage doll parts, dead things, old worn out tossed-away clothing, vintage jewelry and acrylic paints!
Of which creation are you the most proud?
I'd have to say my FAUXIDERMIES! Part upcycled doll parts, part crafted taxidermy, a sprinkle of
vintage, a dash of something dead and ALL imagination!
Do you ever make things you wind up liking so much you can't part with them?
Of course! Everything I make I want to keep! It's birth, creation!
Every time you make something new it's another piece of you outside
yourself. Every piece makes you want to go bigger, badder, bolder! I'm
proud of all my Concoctions, but pride sometimes takes a back seat to seeing
someone else get to enjoy my work for themselves!
What has been the public's reaction to your work?
Public reaction has been great. I get praise, and requests for
future projects or customs, and remakes of a lot of already adopted
Creations! I have a decent amount of repeat customers and a steady
stream of word of mouth. I always have awesome feedback on WIP (Works In
Progress). They seem to enjoy my hands-on custom orders, and a lot of
jaws drop when they find out that everything I do is 100% handmade,
no machines. Handmade and designed seems to really get peoples attention, and they see it's worth every penny to collect OOAK Plushie Art!
Why do you think people enjoy dolls like the ones you make?
People enjoy what I do simply because it's unique. Yes, thousands if
not millions of dolls and bears are made all the time, but I try to
bring life and individuality to every thing I create. People feel that, with my customs especially. And
it's hard to find dolls that are strange, weird, or scary! I don't do "cookie cutter"!
What are some of your favorite horror films, and do you think they've influenced your work?
I like a lot of hokey horror, and they are the
ones that still make me hop into bed so the monsters won't get me. Like:
Puppet Master Series
(Anything from Full Moon Features - as lame as that might sound)
Stephen King's IT (or anything Stephen King)
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
Snow White - A Tale of Terror
Jack Ketchum's Girl Next Door
Watcher in The Woods
Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Dark Crystal
And I know they are not movies, but if my childhood and teen years lacked these TV shows I would be half lost :
Tales from the Darkside
Tales from the Crypt
Are You Afraid of the Dark
The Addams Family
Do you think they influenced your work?
To quote Picasso, "Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
I've lived in fear of that exact horror scenario, but I'm staying
true to my strong fixation with fairy tales as the
intro to horror. Yes, I believe all my likes and favorites and
inspirations have somehow always been influenced by horror in every
Where do you see Concocted Curioddities headed in the future?
Someday I'd like my brain preserved in a jar on my family's
mantle! But as far as the future and where I'd like to see C.C.
heading... I'd like to be known, not insanely famous, or rich
beyond my wildest dreams, just comfortable and happy making new and more
detailed concoctions to push my limits and enjoy the simple
pleasures that all people big or small enjoy! And maybe be posted on a site or published in a magazine or
Check out Concocted Curioddities on Facebook and Etsy!
"QUITE SIMPLY, THE BEST HORROR-THEMED BLOG ON THE NET." -- Joe Maddrey, Nightmares in Red White & Blue
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