Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Interview with Wicked Apple Jewelry Artist Lin Pyatt

Lin Pyatt has always loved horror. She grew up on spending long nights with Hammer films and reading horror books. However, she never thought she’d be able to incorporate her love of horror into her work until recently…

Lin started Wicked Apple jewelry studio to produce her unique mixed-media art. She only recently began using horror themes in her jewelry, and realized she could combine her two loves of horror and art!
Along with Wicked Apple, Lin runs the non-profit The Carpe Noctem Foundation, where she combines her degree in Museum Studies with her love of horror.

Fatally Yours: How and when did you fall in love with horror? 

Lin Pyatt: As early as I can remember, honestly! I may be betraying my age, here, but I saw It’s Alive in the theater… of course I was very young. I religiously watched a program called Terror Theater which featured classic horror camp. I also watched Night Gallery, Outer Limits, The Night Stalker, Hammer Films, and read horror comics. Anything horror-related! Even horror coloring books! My heroes were always Dracula, and the like. Those poor hunted monsters!

Fatally Yours: What does horror mean to you? 

Lin Pyatt: That is a good question… it means things that frighten you, or evoke fear, terror, make you wonder what is out there. Horror is supposed to frighten us, in both a primal and metaphysical sense, make us examine our fears, and ourselves. But I agree with John Carpenter, in the sense that horror may introduce elements that make us think the horror is ‘out there’ somewhere, but really it is within us. We are the monsters. We use horror, at times, I think, to put it ‘out there’ and make it something tangible, so we can try to exorcise it.

Fatally Yours: How do you incorporate “horror” into your designs?

Lin Pyatt: For my jewelry I use classic images of horror, or things that evoke the darker side, gothic, classic horror. I have been making horror-ish fused glass pendants and hair flowers, and my new collage pendants are a great creative outlet, too. I might add a dark touch or element to something normally bright and shiny.

Fatally Yours: What other things influence your designs? 

Lin Pyatt: My first major was anthropology, so world culture and design elements are a large part of it. Steampunk, which has some dark elements, and even some classic designs, early Hollywood, dark fantasy is a big one, too! Even Disney, which has some pretty dark stuff in there!

Fatally Yours: What inspired you to start your own jewelry company and embrace such a dark aesthetic? 

Lin Pyatt: I have always designed jewelry. I started when I was little, making presents for people, and I had so many requests that I eventually began selling pieces. I just incorporate what I love into the designs, Horror being a large part of that. Wicked Apple, the name, came out of the historical idea of the dark, forbidden fruit, the same ideas that Disney used with Snow White’s poisoned apple.

Fatally Yours: What challenges have you faced and overcome with running Wicked Apple?

Lin Pyatt: Well, I’ve changed the name three times, mainly due to changing my approach, the events I do, etc. It’s a lot of work. You’re always arranging for the next show. Working for yourself means you do everything – advertising, books, planning, designing – everything! I’m also in grad school, so I’m busy already… one major challenge. Also, the economy right now isn’t treating small businesses very well.

Fatally Yours: If you could choose anyone, living or dead, to model Wicked Apple jewelry who would it be and why? 

Lin Pyatt: I think I’d make an amazing ring for Vincent Price to wear or a stunning necklace for Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Steele, or earrings for Simone Simon! But I’d love to see anyone today in these pieces, particularly people who have a wild, fun side, like Dee Wallace, Deborah Harry, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Cassandra Peterson, Natalie Portman, Helena Bonham Carter, Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Madonna, Thora Birch, Brinke Stevens… (Ooh, and the men: Johnny Depp or Robert England, Malcolm McDowell  - whoever would be willing!)

Fatally Yours: What elements can female designers bring to horror-themed accessories that is different than males’ designs?

Lin Pyatt: Well, obviously ‘girl’ themed accessories: hair ribbons, hair flowers – that is something I love to focus on. It is a large part of my line and something that I love, although it is feminine (which, I’ve never really thought of myself as ‘girly’) those can definitely have both the humorous horror and creepy horror elements. Jewelry itself is in general, more feminine, anyway. I think we soften it, make it more concrete. Women are actually way more likely to accept the reality of horror (we see ‘blood’ and deal with horrific things more than men, I’d say).

Fatally Yours: Tell us a little about your horror non-profit, The Carpe Noctem Foundation. What are your goals with the non-profit and how will you accomplish them?

Lin Pyatt: It was formed as a nonprofit, public foundation to “promote the study of the significance and purpose of Horror in cultural mythology and folklore, both historical and modern”. We plan to open a gallery/museum to feature and promote horror artists of all types (film, painting, etc) and explore how horror is an expression of cultural and personal fears, and examine the purpose and importance of it as a genre. Once we receive our 501(c)(3) we plan to hold many events to help with fundraising in order to promote horror art forms of all kinds!

Fatally Yours: What women do you look up to and admire and why?

Lin Pyatt: I have always had trouble identifying with feminine images and females. Most of my friends were male, and I never thought of myself as feminine. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve really explored that side…

Growing up, I guess it was Marlene Dietrich (who rode the line of femininity herself!), and scream queens like Simone Simon and Barbara Steele.

As for women in the horror business: I recently chatted with Dee Wallace, and she is just fabulous! Great personality and great attitude – I can see why she has been so successful for so long. I also met Meg Foster, who is such a sweetie, and a wonderful person. I admire anyone who can do things their own way and succeed.

Fatally Yours: What advice would you give women who want to start their own company?

Lin Pyatt: Do tons of research! Get as much market research info as you can: demographics, etc. But most importantly, do what you love, so your heart can be in it, because if you don’t you’ll be miserable. Don’t just start a business to ‘work for yourself’. Figure out what you want to do, or love to do, and incorporate that in.

Fatally Yours: What’s the last extremely disturbing horror movie/book you saw/read?

Lin Pyatt: Disturbing, in a good way? Well, a while back I saw the Japanese horror film Audition. Amazing, and very creepy, because it is so very realistic. One of these ‘this could happen!’ films! Pan’s Labyrinth, or The Ring for the same reasons. More about how terrible we all are to each other – again, WE are the monsters.

Fatally Yours: What’s one horror movie you think is HIGHLY underrated?

Lin Pyatt: Shadow of the Vampire immediately comes to mind – it is one of the most brilliant films ever made. Also, an older film called The Crawling Eye, which has a great story but a terrible name. Or even misunderstood films, like American Psycho or Ninth Gate.

Fatally Yours: What are your favorite horror films, books, etc.?

Lin Pyatt: Films: Shadow of the Vampire of course, the Hellraiser series (or almost any Clive Barker), Universal monster films and classic horror, anything with Vincent Price! I love almost all of them, really, even old, cheesy ones.

Books: I love short stories, so, almost all anthologies, Cthulhu mythos, etc.

Comics: The old House of Mystery series!

Art: Mark Ryden, Virginie Ropars, Lori Earley, Chris Mars, Travis Louie, Lisa Phoenix, I could go on and on…

Fatally Yours: Do you have any new designs you’d like to tell us about?

Lin Pyatt: I just began doing mini collage fused glass pendants! They are even more unique than my regular fused glass due to being a collage of mainly ‘found’ elements. I am making many new ones for the upcoming shows!

Fatally Yours: What can we expect from you, Wicked Apple and Carpe Noctem in the future?

Lin Pyatt: I intend to expand the jewelry line with more accessories, and more men’s stuff! I also intend for the Horror Museum and Gallery to help form a more cohesive ‘Horror community’, and promote horror as a genre.

Fatally Yours: Where can people find more info on you and your designs?

Lin Pyatt:

Wicked Apple’s Facebook page
Wicked Apple’s online store site
The Carpe Noctem Foundation Facebook page

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