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Specialized ProfessionIamA self-employed "Monster Maker" who specialises in wearable masks AMA!

Nov 11th 2017 by MissMonsterMel • 7 Questions • 1579 Points

[EDIT] Wow, thanks for the questions today, a lot tougher than I thought, but I really appreciate it! I'm calling it a day for now. I'll try to answer the remaining questions, and may be back tomorrow, watch this space!

Come join me on Instagram (MissMonsterMel) and Facebook (MissMonsterArt) for updates on my work.

<3

Hi reddit!

My name is Melita Curphy, also known as Miss Monster. I've been making all manner of monster masks, traditional art and toys for about 14 years. I have worked with the likes of Guillermo Del Toro, Sideshow collectibles and on such productions as A Scanner Darkly.

I'm currently at DesignerCon in Pasadena, answering the questions from anyone that comes by, so I thought I would open it up to Reddit as well! I'll start at or shortly after 3pm PDT.

Ask Me Anything about my work or the industry!

Proof: https://www.instagram.com/p/BbXw7kgl_I6/

Masks I have recently made - * https://www.instagram.com/p/BbSL8kJlkjd * https://www.instagram.com/p/Ba7UfchhIlk * https://www.instagram.com/p/BaavoTqAKxC

A costume / mask combo: * https://www.instagram.com/p/BZzYkwcAsD2

Toys I designed - * https://www.instagram.com/p/BbIafnHlowf * https://www.instagram.com/p/BaXRTKwgXGU

Wanna see me paint (timelapse)? * https://www.instagram.com/p/BbVvLHdlUK3 * https://www.instagram.com/p/BbVj0YllsM6

Q:

Didn't we see you on Face/Off? And if you're in the monster mask industry.. When did you work with Distortions Unlimited last?

A:

Hi jaysapathy! I have a bunch of friends that have been on Face-Off, but I haven't been on it personally. I haven't worked in the halloween/haunt industry, I tend to work more on bespoke masks of my own design, and occasionally work for hollywood special effect shops.


Q:

Jordu, then. You worked with Jordu, because I've seen you somewhere!

A:

I haven't worked with Jordu, but I have been around for a long time! I'm totally curious now as to where you might have seen me or my work! :D


Q:

Favorite and least favorite materials to work with?

A:

Chavant suuuuuucks! I'll never work with that clay again, mainly because it's sticky and unforgiving. I know a lot of people that love it, but not me. Haha, when I think about it, it annoys me so much I come up with childish insults directed at it, like 'it smells' and 'its poopy!' so I guess that says it all.

In the same vein, Monster Clay is by far my favourite material to work with. It's smooth, workable, and an absolute pleasure to sculpt with. I spend so much of my time sculpting, its clays that have the biggest impact on me.


Q:

Greetings Mel!

Firstly, thanks for doing what you do. I’ve been following your work for years and it inspires me greatly – even had the chance to meet you (and table assist! Good times) way back in the day when you attended AC in Pittsburgh. You’re awesome!

Sometimes you write a little bit of lore for your creations. How do you go about doing so? Do you have long, intertwined story lines that you develop slowly, or do you come up with them off the top of your head? Or something else? In addition, do they help guide your creative process at all?

Thank you! Good vibes,

Natalie

A:

Hi Natalie!

Wow, great question! I had to think a bit about this, and I would say I mostly let the ideas flow out of me, with no real connection to previous work. Sometimes, when I'm making something, and I step away from the finished piece for a while, I see some similarities, or a link to a previous piece that I then like to explore. For example, I consider my Cragnogs, Floculent Craws and Chubnogs as all part of the same universe. Similarly with my bigger masks, the Robodog and the Anubot have the same post apocalyptic vibe, so they now belong to the same universe.

I feel like it's more important to just create and not constrain an idea, and perhaps later consider their place in the universes you create.

Really good question, thanks!


Q:

Have you ever made anything resembling "The Haunted Mask" from the Goosebumps series?

A:

I had to look that up, but I can definitely say I haven't made anything like that. Looks really interesting, though!


Q:

The green skin and glowing eyes definitely creeped me out as a child, for sure. Creeps me out now if I'm being honest.

A:

That's a really big compliment to the original designer! That's the kind of visceral reaction any artist would love to achieve, and that it still affects you is amazing.


Q:

It's really great that you're able to do this for a living.

How do you connect with your customer base to the degree that you're able to stay self-employed?

A:

Thank you, and that's a great question.

What is important to me, is to put myself in front of groups and people that are into the same things that I am. It took me 14 years, and as my tastes shifted, so did the groups I put myself in front of. By picking who I show my pieces to (rather than just 'shotgunning' my work out there), I feel like I've built an awesome community of people that genuinely seem to love what I produce. I never lose sight of the fact that these people allow me to keep doing what I do. It's important to keep people updated, and show them what you are working on. If you are excited by something, let that show in your posts, because if they are on your page, or looking at something you've made, then they are obviously there because they are curious, interested and probably excited too.

Keep making different things, always evolve, and don't get stuck in one style or piece (this actually recently happened to me, and it had a huge impact on my happiness and ability to produce). Be consistent, be on time, build trust in you as a 'brand' (though I don't like thinking that way, I'd rather the art stay personal). I think that's it, that the most important thing is to build trust and a rapport with the people that follow you. Like I said, they allow me to do what I do, so I try to stay true to myself, create what I love, and because I've built a community of people who love the same things, I know they will appreciate, share with friends and hopefully buy it.

Tough question, but thanks for asking!