Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Interview Series: Week 18 - Weirdsville

Many apologies for not being around last week, and for the sketchy details left on my Facebook page.  I'll explain it all now, since it won't take too long.

My internet service provider, Pembroke Telephone Company, has a history in my location of iffy service.  We (my mother and I) think that it has something to do with the wiring – our road is dirt/clay/sand, mostly sand, with ditches on either side.  Since the wiring is buried on the sides of the road, when the company that "cares" for the road (and I use "cares" loosely) digs out the ditches, we suspect that they strip the insulation from the wiring.  This means, that when it rains, gets windy, storms, or threatens to look like rain, the internet service plummets.  We pay for 6Mbps Download/512kbps upload, and when it rains, gets windy, storms or threatens to look like rain, I might get one tenth of that service at best, but typically, I get no service at all once the wires are wet or are being hit by wind.  Recently, our house was fitted with Fiber Optic cables (which we have been promised for about a year, and finally now have), but I don't think that they are functional yet.  Since my area has had rain pretty steadily for the past two weeks or so, I never know when I'll have internet, or what quality it will be.  Since I need the internet to retrieve the images and links I put into my interview posts, I have been unable to do much of anything recently.  Gaming has been a nightmare, and so I've mostly been on the internet to look up things, place orders my mother asks me to, and talk with my long-distance boyfriend while working on some other things I've been putting aside – such as a scarf I've been meaning to finish knitting, some inventory recording/organization, and some paperwork that I didn't want to do since it's… well… paperwork.

This week we seem to not have as much rain in the forecast, so the phone/internet cables have a bit of a chance to dry out, bringing me better/faster internet.  Until the Fiber Optic cables are fully functional from service provider home to hubs to individual customers, it's going to always be this way: When it rains, gets windy, storms or threatens to look like rain, I'll have crappy internet service most of the time, or no service at all.

SINCE this week doesn't have so much in the forecast, I'm going to try to queue as many interviews as I have ready.

Like this week's, where I bring you something COMPLETELY different – something unlike this blog has ever featured, and something so unique I doubt I'll ever see anything like it again!  Aptly named "Weirdsville", this week's artist brings us weird things of all kinds, in many different mediums.  I'm not sure I can even try to explain his work, so I'll let him do the explaining, and I'll also let his work try to explain itself!

Without further kvetching about my internet, I'll let Lee of Weirdsville from Zibbet take the stage!


Name:  Lee Widener
Craft:  I do artwork with markers, and I also make assemblage sculptures.
Favorite material (or medium, whatever you want to call it!):  My favorite medium no longer exists. When I started doing marker art, there was a company called Design that made the best art markers on the planet. They had the most colors, their ink saturation and blending was superior, and their prices were great. Then Prismacolor bought them out and promptly discontinued them. Today you can find sets of Design Art Markers on Ebay for huge prices.
Most Popular Seller (whether it be online or at shows):  DancingRainbows at Zibbet. Her Sun Catchers are just gorgeous. And she photographs them so well, they really have a dynamic energy.

Alien Landscape in My Right Shoe
I think I would be terrified of an alien colony moving into my shoe, but this is just so awesome that I don't think I'd mind too much!

Mine-ICON What got you into your craft?

Weirdsville Wanting to be like my idols. I'm a big fan of underground comix from the 60s and 70s, and a lot of my artwork is just my version of that kind of art. I also have a unique point of view. I saw that nobody else was doing quite what I wanted to do, so I had to make it a reality.


Mine-ICON How did you learn your craft?

Weirdsville Reading, observing, trial and error. I'm not trained at all. I look at art and comics and try and figure out how the artists do what they do.

Some Weirdos Show the Space Creature How to Have Fun - Original Cartoon Art
"Getting Smashed" indeed! This looks like a lot of fun, truth be told!

Mine-ICON What about YOU? Who is the artist behind those wonderful items?

Weirdsville I'm an old guy who recently lost his job. I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, so I'm spending it doing things I've always wanted to do. I grew up in the midwest and now live in Oregon, which is a marvelous place full of creative people, many of whom are a bit off kilter, so it's a great working environment.
I'm also a writer of "Speculative Fiction," which is a catch-all term for anything weird- horror, science fiction, paranormal, adventure. I gave up writing for a long, long time to try and make it in the "real world," which was the biggest mistake of my life. I started writing again a couple of years ago, and am having a modest amount of success.

Mixing Bowl From Hell - Original Psychedelic Underground Outsider Art
I… I'm not sure what to think of this, but I'm sure going to check my bowls for holes, legs and fire before I bake again!

Mine-ICON What is a typical "working" day for you? How does it usually start and end? How many hours do you spend crafting? How many hours do you spend on other things? What about distractions? I know we all have them! Do you usually accomplish all you wanted to?


WeirdsvilleWhen I'm drawing, I try to stay focused. It take me between two and four hours to sketch out a picture, ink it and then color it. Three drawings in a day is a job well done. If I'm working on my sculptures, it's a lot of stop and go, because I have to wait for glue to dry. I'll work on several at once- adding a new piece to each one, and then I go and do something else for several hours while the glue dries. I'll go write, play games on Facebook, do some research for upcoming projects, look for places to promote my work. I'm a bit of a night owl, so I might be at my table at two in the morning gluing things together.


Classic British Horror Comic Book - Chiller Pocket Book 9 Man-Thing
Classics are almost always the best. I've never been a comic collector, but this would make a fantastic addition to anyone with a collection!

Mine-ICON What happens when you Oops? Everyone gets one sometime or another! Do you get frustrated and destroy/start over, or do you go with the flow and see what comes out in the end?

Weirdsville I did a series of sculptures called "Alien Landscapes in a Jar" utilizing a lot of empty jars I had laying around. They were hard. Trying to put little tiny objects in a certain place inside a jar that your hand doesn't fit into is an exercise in frustration. I'd often drop things in the wrong place and have to take them out and start all over again. I have tongs I use to try and place things with, but they're big and clunky and didn't work all that well. If I ever make any more, I'll get some long tweezers.

Mine-ICON What is your design process like? How many tries does it take to be happy with the final product?

Weirdsville I see it all in my head. When I'm drawing, I sketch it all out in pencil first, and do all the tweaking in that stage. I might start over a few times, or it might all flow. When I'm making sculptures, they just evolve as I build each piece. The scenes are revealed to me as I build them. They always surprise me, so I always love them.


Alien Landscape in a Jar – Catopix
Amazing worlds captured in jars! How can you go wrong? Well letting them out of the jar aside, that is…

Mine-ICON What is your greatest roadblock, be it government regulation or that little frustrating thing that just likes to sneak up and stop you in your tracks? Broken needle? Jump ring jumping out of your pliers? Thread knots? Cats? Dogs? The family hedgehog rolled about in your yarn basket?

Weirdsville My creative process flows pretty freely, but my biggest hurdle is getting the word out there. My stuff is on the fringe, it has a limited appeal, so trying to connect with the right audience is a big challenge. I struggle with it daily.


Alien Landscape in a Can - Eunoit 7
Just as awesome as the jars, with a better chance of escape!

Mine-ICON All important pricing... Do you have a formula? Do you wing it? Do you feel your work justifies your prices?

Weirdsville I keep my prices low, too low, really, for the hours I put into making my art. I want people to buy, so I price low. Maybe that's the wrong strategy, but in this economy it seems necessary.


Mine-ICON And of course, is there anything else you'd like to say to our "viewers at home"?

Weirdsville There's a humorous aspect to all my art. I take an idea and try and twist it- like taking innocent, innocuous objects and trying to make them menacing- The Butterfly of Death, The Cotton Balls of Doom, The Mixing Bowl From Hell. It's silly. I hope people will get a laugh out of what I do. There's enough heaviness in the world. I'm trying to lighten things up a bit. Make people see things in a different way. Smile, people - life's too short.



I can't agree with that last statement more.  Life is too short!  Having an odder look at life, a lighter look, is certainly good advice.  Adding fun into one's life significantly increases its quality, that's fore sure!  So go, everyone! Look at what Lee has to offer – if nothing more, bring one of his eclectic creations into your own world so that it makes you smile when you look at it.

Be certain to visit Lee and his weird creations at Weirdsville of Zibbet!

Until next week! Thank you for reading everyone!!

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