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Friday, September 21, 2012

Visceral Visionaries: Jennifer OZe

It's been a while since 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 born!

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 he has!

Do you consider your work to be art?
I would 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?
My favorite 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:

Dolly Dearest
Demonic Toys
Puppet Master Series
(Anything from Full Moon Features - as lame as that might sound)
Stephen King's IT (or anything Stephen King)
Pan's Labyrinth
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
She Creature
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
Dark Shadows
American Gothic
Tales from the Crypt
Twin Peaks
Are You Afraid of the Dark
The Munsters
The Addams Family
Eerie, Indiana

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 sense.

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 two!

Check out Concocted Curioddities on Facebook and Etsy!


Alexis Mance said...

Wow... those designs are sick as!

B-Sol said...

Jenn's work is just amazing, plain and simple.

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