This podcast connects artists and collectors of Halloween art. You will experience the stories and inspirations behind some of the best Halloween art being created today. You’ll hear from dedicated collectors who capture their dream pieces. You will add to your Halloween travel bucket list as we explore Halloween-centric destinations.
Austin Phillips: Voice, Motion, Magic
Austin Phillips, a skilled figure maker and expert in ventriloquist dummies, has turned his lifelong passion into a full-time career. His fascination with these mechanical dolls began at the age of five when he received a ventriloquist dummy from Santa. From that moment on, Austin was captivated by the artistry and entertainment value behind these unique creations. As he grew older, he honed his skills in figure making by experimenting with different materials and his dad’s power tools. Austin's dedication to his craft led him to seek out renowned figure makers, learning directly from them and gaining invaluable insights into the art form.
Today, Austin not only creates one-of-a-kind ventriloquist dummies, but also restores historical treasurers including puppets and figures from coin operated games. His attention to detail and commitment to authenticity make him highly sought out by both collectors and performers around the world.
Austin has performed as a ventriloquist since childhood and most recently headlined in a spooky Victorian show filled with tricks and illusions. In addition to his figure collection, his studio in Maine is filled with his stunning collection of vintage Halloween decorations.
Haunted Overload, Lee, New Hampshire: https://hauntedoverload.com Musée Mécanique, San Francisco: https://museemecanique.com Vent Haven International Ventriloquist Convention, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky: https://vhconvention.com Vent Haven Museum (world’s only ventriloquist museum), Fort Mitchell, Kentucky: https://www.venthaven.org
Visit Austin’s web site at: https://www.phillipspuppets.com
Tracy Mahaffey: Carving Stories in Stone
Meet Tracy Mahaffey, a talented stone carver and memorial artist who creates lasting stories in stone using only her hands and simple tools. Out of her studio comes gravestones, memorials, architectural work, and sculptures. Tracy majored in sculpture in university. At that time, she thought all memorial work was done by computers and sandblasting. When she found people making memorials by hand, she knew she had found her tribe.
The low-tech nature of the job appeals to Tracy. All of her work starts with a sketch on paper. Then the sketches become full scale drawings, which are transferred to the stone with carbon paper. All sculpting is done with a mallet and chisel – that's it. Stone carving has changed little since ancient times; tools are now made of stronger materials but the processes are the same. The beauty of a hand carved inscription is the human hand. You want to see the variations.
Tracy has created memorial art in a variety of styles ranging from Puritan to art deco to the look of today. Her favorite era is our era. She currently works in marble, limestone, granite, zinc, bronze, and clay.
Working with a family to create a memorial for their loved one is a privilege. She loves hearing family stories and condensing them into a story that can be told in stone. The process is truly a collaboration.
Tracy is optimistic about the future of memorial arts and is happy to share her knowledge by teaching. She’s impressed by the talent and passion of others in her field. Her hope is that people in the future look back and say that the 2000s were a wonderful time period for this art field.
The art available in cemeteries around the world rivals that of fine art museums. Tracy recommended the following cemeteries for their beauty and amazing monuments:
Bonaventure Cemetery in Savanah, GA: https://www.bonaventurehistorical.org/ Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY: https://www.green-wood.com/ Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, Italy: https://staglieno.comune.genova.it Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Boston, MA: https://www.mountauburn.org/ North Carolina Soapstone Tombstones: https://vitabrevis.americanancestors.org/2019/09/signature-in-stone/ Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, RI: https://swanpointcemetery.com
The Atlas Obscura article I found Tracy in is here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/hand-carved-gravestones?fbclid=IwAR1Cn51SwV3drjpHZcr_gnboAONKqACLm5Oq6vTT8MhWY9iSWqkIbUIgjg8
The book Tracy recommended is “Sticks & Stones” by M. Ruth Little
Visit Tracy’s website at: https://www.tracymahaffey.com
Sarah Band: Spooky Scientific Delights
North Carolina glass artist, Sarah Band, is inspired by science, anatomy, and creepy stuff. As a sculpture major at San Francisco State, her ambition to create a large kaleidoscope led her to her first encounter with glass. Sarah was hooked as soon as she saw someone blow out molten material.
In a craft medium like glass, the blower needs a strong understanding of chemistry. Sarah explains the process of using different metal oxides to create various glass colors. She also highlights the intersection of science and art in her work, drawing inspiration from scientific discoveries and her upbringing in a family of physicists. Both science and art begin with observation and the desire to learn about the world.
Sarah does two types of glass blowing: furnace and flameworking. The furnace glass is the traditional Venetian style with long metal pipes and a big hot furnace. Flameworking is the process of bending tubes of glass over a flame.
The more skill a glassblower has, the thinner they can blow out the glass and the more colors they can use. Colors are challenging because they heat up at different rates. There are no breaks when creating a glass work of art; the artist is constantly reheating and turning the glass so it doesn’t explode.
Visit Sarah’s web site at: https://www.sarahaband.com/
· Cat Viera (@catvierapottery), teacher at the North Carolina Pottery Center (Seagrove, NC): https://ncpotterycenter.org
· Sawtooth School for Visual Arts (Winston-Salem, NC): https://www.sawtooth.org
· Starworks Gallery/Studio (Star, NC): https://www.starworksnc.org
LeeAnn Kress: Eye Candy Art
LeeAnn Kress, is the color loving artist behind Charmed Confections. Her candy shop of sculpted art invokes Willy Wonka, childhood memories, and Halloween magic. She aspires to evoke happiness and nostalgia in her collectors.
Details unknown to collectors hold special significance to LeeAnn, like the number 13 representing her father's birthday. Art is not just about creating visually appealing pieces; it's about sharing a part of herself with the world. Every piece is infused with inspiration from her life or her family.
A switch from a telecommunications job to artistry wasn't a difficult decision. Her passion had blossomed after work hours, eventually becoming her dream job. In addition to Halloween, LeeAnn has also created fairy art. She’s honored that her work has been reproduced by Bethany Lowe.
LeeAnn is exhibiting at the All Hallows Art Fest in Petaluma, CA this year. In this episode she shares a preview of the wonders collectors will find in her booth.
“I want my art to give collectors back those memories of Halloween and trick-or-treating... I want them to feel the love and care that I put into the details and to really love it.” - LeeAnn Kress
Please visit her website at: https://charmedconfections.com
All Hallow’s Art Fest in Petaluma, CA: https://www.halloweenfolkartsociety.com/about-the-show-1 Autumn Brillance Magazine: https://www.autumnbrilliancemagazine.com/ Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland, CA: https://www.bishopspumpkinfarm.com Holiday Pizzazz Shop: https://holidaypizzazz.com
Stephanie Hodges: Proprietor of Pizzazz
Stephanie Hodge’s journey into running an online shopping experience, Holiday Pizzazz, began with the simple desire to help collectors find their dream pieces. She experienced the supply and demand dilemma in collecting and decided to help fill the gap. She is motivated by driving availability of products for collectors and showing artists that their skills and talents are appreciated. Holiday Pizzazz carries artist reproduction pieces for all the popular holidays in the US, including a full selection of Halloween.
In this episode, Stephanie shares the fascinating processes of how artists get their reproductions to market. She highlights key players including Bethany Lowe, ESC, and Magenta.
Stephanie has connected with many artists over her years of collecting. From Johanna Parker to David Everett, she’s found artists that put their hearts into their pieces. She deeply understands the importance of positive feedback and appreciation for the artists we collect and love. Show your support for artists by commenting on their posts and reaching out to manufacturers to express interest for the artists they collaborate with.
This episode includes tips for creating beautiful displays, current trends, and how to protect yourself from copycats in the industry.
Visit Holiday Pizzazz's website to explore their online shopping experience for holiday home décor: https://holidaypizzazz.com/
Contact these vendors to encourage them to keep bringing us pieces from our favorite artists:
Bethany Lowe: https://bethanylowe.com/pages/contact ESC: https://escandcompany.com/pages/contact Magenta: https://www.magenta-inc.com/pages/contact-us
Joanna Barnum: Hauntingly Beautiful Watercolors
Joanna Barnum’s world is one where her brush creates the macabre, bringing to life Halloween iconography, emotions, and fantasy using hauntingly beautiful watercolors. Joanna was initially skeptical of watercolor, but fell in love with its chaotic and expressive qualities during art school. She was also influenced by Stephen Gammel’s illustrations in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”
Watercolor’s unpredictable nature has taught Joanna how to balance control and chaos. She likens watercolor to dancing – there's a plan, but she needs to leave room for the organic side of it. While some think that watercolors are only soft and pale, Joanna shows us how they can be vivid and bright.
Joanna loves to paint haunted houses. While some collectors see references to books and movies when they look at them, for her, it’s a reflection of her love for old decaying buildings. Her art often represents layers of history, sometimes including past injustices. As she travels, she takes pictures of old houses to serve as inspiration for future works.
Joanna lives in Harford County, MD, with her husband Mike and dog Zephyr. She encourages listeners to go all in on whatever brings them joy, and reminds artists that they don't need permission to create what they want. Make your weirdo heart happy.
Travel Recommendations from Joanna:
Haunted Overload (New Hampshire): http://www.hauntedoverload.com/ Ledew Garden Glow (Maryland): https://ladewgardens.com/Event-Calendar/Events-at-Ladew/-Garden-Glow Westminster Church (Edgar Allan Poe’s grave in Baltimore, Maryland): https://www.westminsterhall.org/
Visit Joanna’s web site at: https://www.joannabarnum.com/ You’ll see a wonderful gallery of her work and visit the Events section to see all her upcoming shows, including Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween and Dragon Con.
Diving into the world of Halloween art and travel through this podcast is truly a treat. The episodes blend intrigue with creativity, making it a captivating listen every time.
From Bona and Team Capsho
Creativity at its best
It’s a meshing of the talents and vision of one “Eclectic Halloween Collector/Podcaster”and the equally magical guest artists that make this podcast entertaining and super insightful.
Learn the Who What Where and Why they became an artist, and what drives them creatively.
I personally listen to the episodes more than once and scroll their art on social media if I can’t travel to the various shows.
This is the podcast I’ve been waiting for. Just binged every episode available and can’t wait for next season. For the Halloween- and Halloween art-obsessed, podcasts don’t get better than this. 👻👻