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CHOPPING BLOCK: CUDDLY RIGOR MORTIS

Sometimes when an incredibly gifted person tries their hand at an artistic venture outside of their normal talent pool, the end result can be painfully embarrassing. (Like when Eddie Murphy sang "Party All The Time.")

Kristin Tercek happens to be the exception with Cuddly Rigor Mortis, a company founded on her handmade plush characters that has long since transitioned into disturbingly adorable oil paintings. This week we sit down with her and try to determine how she was able to make the jump from sewing like a pro to painting like a boss, barring the fact that she just might very well be a Wizard.

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kt

POW: Who or what is Cuddly Rigor Mortis? Is that your “punk” name?

KRISTIN: When I started sewing plush dolls I wanted a company name that encompassed the creepy/cute vibe I was going for. I have a notebook filled with names but my husband, Ed Mironiuk (aka GH-05-T) just walked into my studio one day and said "Cuddly Rigor Mortis". It stuck and is the name I've worked under since.

CKKing Crab by Cuddly Rigor Mortis

POW: Doing research for this interview, I stumbled upon the fact that not only have you done a few artistic collaborations with Disney, such as having your work showcased at the Pop Fusion Exhibit at Downtown Disney, but you’re also a bit of a fanatic. (Wedding & Reception behind Cinderella’s Castle, repeat visits to Tokyo Disneyland, Wedding Anniversary at Club 33)

How did you come to work with them, and for being a life-long fan, how was your reaction to it?

KRISTIN: Haha - my secret is out! Yes, my husband and I have been huge Disney fans for quite awhile now. When I got the email from WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disneyland, CA asking if I'd be interested in taking part in a show there, I started crying. An intern had seen a painting of mine at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA and passed it along to the manager. It was overwhelming just being in the show, but when I saw they had turned my work into a 15ft tall banner that was hanging in the front of the gallery I just lost it completely. What an honor. I'm grateful to this day for the opportunity and joy they've given me. (PS I'll have a brand new painting at WonderGround debuting March 1st!)

ozMultitasking by Cuddly Rigor Mortis

POW: Since we’re on the topic of Disney and Art, any self respecting art school hipster worth their weight in Sriacha always name-drops Mary Blair (a prominent concept artist for the Walt Disney Company) when the 2 are discussed together in some capacity.

Granted that her work is pretty amazing, are there any other Disney artists over the years that you like to draw inspiration from?

KRISTIN: Oh man, even non-art school/non hipsters like me adore Mary Blair. Alice in Wonderland is my favorite animated movie so I still have to mention her! My second favorite Disney movie is Lilo and Stitch so Chris Sanders work also holds a special place for me. Marc Davis, Ward Kimball and just about any of the Nine Old Men were also huge inspirations for me over the years.

mrMr. Rabbit by Cuddly Rigor Mortis

POW: Sometimes non-artistic types give credence to the misconception that if an artist is really talented at one medium (drawing) then they must be really good at others as well, (painting, sculpting, etc.) which isn’t always the case. You on the other hand started off creating plush characters with a sewing machine and fabric, transitioning into creating the same characters using brushes and paint seamlessly. (Pun intended :P)

Although you used two completely different methods, your creations are still unified in terms of aesthetics. How were you able to maintain consistency when changing methods, and do you ever apply any basic principles from one when using the other?

KRISTIN: Wow, great question! When I started sewing I had no idea what I was doing. My love of clean lines and simplicity was a huge help in designing characters I could translate to plush. I kept the shape and facial expressions the same, but over time, I wanted to do a bit more with them. That was the impetus for me to go back to painting (which I had been doing since a very young age) where I'd have more control to design exactly what I envisioned. I still kept that basic shape and expression (it's all about the eyes), but I had more room to grow.

gimp(Left) Gimp plush (Right) Wanna Play by Cuddly Rigor Mortis

POW: It seems that you already have a strong predilection for painting on wood, and here we are, a little ‘ol company printing on wood. Did the fact that the we both share the same taste in substrates sway your decision into showcasing your art with us?

KRISTIN: Absolutely! As soon as I saw Jeff Soto's first Seeker Friend I immediately contacted you guys about how I could showcase my work with you. I had been gluing prints to wood plaques and the idea that you could simply print directly on wood was wonderful. Can't thank you guys enough for the amazing job you do.

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Thanks Kristin, your artwork is pretty amazing too. ;)

For more information on Cuddly Rigor Mortis, visit Kristin's site at: www.cuddlyrigormortis.com

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