Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Macabre Interview with DarkWhite Arts

HELLO HORROR FRIENDS,
This week, the MADHOUSE brings you the girls of DarkWhite Arts. 'DarkWhite Arts is a collaboration of two sisters who both enjoy all things Horror. Between the two of [them], [they] make creepy crafts, charcoal portraits, paintings, jewelry and much more.' If you like what you see, and are DYING for more, check out their etsy shop, and like them on facebook! 

Stay Scared,
Stephanie M. Wytovich

1. When did the two of you start the business and what inspired you to do so?

We started DarkWhite Arts in the spring of 2011.  For myself, I was inspired when I was gift shopping.  I had a hard time finding the spooky gifts I had in mind so I just decided to make them myself!  Marlynn and I both became inspired by the horror conventions we were attending.  There are very talented vendors with a wide array of art, crafts, films, jewelry etc.  Being surrounded by that definitely triggered a bit of our creativity

2. What made you get into making jewelry, or was it something you always did?

Making jewelry is new to me, actually. The crafts I started with were whiskey flasks and decoupaged wood-plaque magnets.  The more I try new things, the more I want to try new things.  I really can’t remember what inspired me to try my hand in jewelry making, but it quickly became my favorite craft.  The possibilities are pretty endless and I’m constantly trying to come up with new ideas… which in and of itself, is inspiring.

3. Did you have any schooling in your craft(s)? If so, where? And do you do anything else on the side?

The art program in high school was VERY limited.  I did attend college for three semesters as a graphic design major.  The first two semesters were great!  It was all hands-on design, photography and drawing classes.  Once I got into the layout and computer stuff, I hated it!  So I dropped out to become a make-up artist.  I’m just someone who needs to work with her hands.

Marlynn is currently a high school art teacher.  She got her bachelor’s degree in Art Administration.  After working in art galleries for a few years, she decided to go back to school for Art Education.  Now she is molding the sweet, young minds in the art field.  It’s funny that no matter how hard she tries not to…  her art always ends up just a *bit* spooky.  Their big project last year ended up with pale-white arms and zombie hands.  It’s awesome.  I wish she could have been my high school art teacher!

4. How did you come up with the name of your business?

My first name, Melanie, is a Greek name meaning black or dark.  My maiden name and Marlynn’s surname is White… so together we are Dark White.


5. What kind of jewelry do you make? Can you customize it?

Yes!  I love to customize my work.  I mostly make my pendants and bracelets with iconic horror images.  I go with my personal favorite movies and images.  I’m a huge fan of classic horror,  so you’ll see a lot of that from me, but I am more than happy to work with a customer in selecting an image for a specific piece.  It doesn’t even have to be spooky ;)

6. What is your favorite piece to make and why?

Honestly I don’t think I have one favorite.  I am very happy to have a variety of crafts to work on.  If I focus too long on one thing, I quickly become bored and it feels like work.  Everything I make is because I love making it. 

7. What got you into the horror genre in the first place, and how do you incorporate it into your style?

Aww…  “the” question, Steph..  haha.  I told you I hate this question!  I really wish I knew the answer!  I just remember my dad taking us to rent movies (they were VHS in my day ;-) ) and I would look for the scariest looking movie there.  Growing up, Poltergeist was my favorite movie for so long.  Still is one of my favorites.  I guess I might need a lot to peak my interest in most things and I have an extremely morbid curiosity.  I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember.  I don’t allow myself to become bored and most other genres usually bore me.  I do like a lot of comedies, though.  I especially love to find a good movie that has both.
As far as my style…  my personal taste in music, art, movies and books is very dark.  The spookier the better, in my opinion.  So it’s only natural that my work reflects that!

9. How can you purchase your products?
We do a lot of local (Pittsburgh) events.  I have a lot of friends in the area that are performers and artists.  Often times when they put on an event, they invite vendors to set up tables.  We keep everyone posted on where we will be on our facebook page www.facebook.com/DarkWhiteArts.And for non-local customers we have a shop online at www.etsy.com/shop/DarkWhiteArts

10. Do you have any upcoming events that you will be vending at? Do you have regular places that you show? If so, where?

Our next event is Horror Realm’s Spring Break Massacre on March 10 at the Crown Plaza, Pittsburgh South.  More information about that can be found on their website, www.horrorrealmcon.com.  Pittsburgh’s Horror Realm is always a lot of fun.  They have a full weekend convention every September, but last year’s one-day March convention was really successful.  There was a really good turn out and celebrity line up, so it’s definitely worth checking out!

11. Do both of you do photography and paint? Who are your inspirations?

Well, Marlynn is the artist in the family.  Her charcoal portraits and paintings are amazing.  I love seeing her development through her earliest to newest work.  She’s always been good, but each time she takes on something new, she just gets better and better.

I do most of the photography.  Cemeteries are my favorite subject.  Going to a new cemetery feels like a treasure hunt each time.  I always find the oldest part of the cemetery to check out the stones.  The oldest one I have found was from 1788 and it was hand carved.  

John Thomas Grant is a cemetery photographer I really like.  I have taken a bit of inspiration from his work.  My good friend Kevin Ross is an amazing photographer.  His eye for lighting and angles has always been inspiring to me.  Another friend, Arvin Clay’s style is also amazing and inspiring.  I’m very fortunate to have so many creative friends to feed off of.
 
Daggers inspires me the most though.  I swear I’m not saying that because he said it in his interview!!!  Lol.  But seriously, there is nothing more inspiring than late nights at the craft table, coming up with lighting and scene ideas for his films or new ideas for my jewelry.  When we put our twisted minds together, there are no boundaries.  The problem is, we seem to have so many ideas, it’s hard to put all of our focus into one.  I’m extremely fortunate to be spending my life with such a creative and supportive man, and that drives me to do the best I can with everything I do.

12. Describe your techniques when doing photography or painting.

I’m not afraid to do whatever I have to do to get an interesting angle.  I can be found climbing all over gravestones and rolling around on the ground.  It’s probably pretty funny to watch, actually.

13. What’s an average work day like in your business?

I don’t think there is an average work day!  Especially when it comes to vending.  The events and conventions we vend are horror, underground, fetish and/or goth themed events.  There’s nothing average about any of that!  Getting ready for those events can be a bit stressful.  I work until the very last possible minute to put the finishing touches on my crafts.  I’ve even worked on some things behind my table at the actual event!

14. How do you fight off creative blocks?

If I try to force it, I get discouraged and that’s no fun.  I learned very quickly that the best thing to do is just take a step back from it all.  That can last a couple weeks or a couple days… but since everything I do is for fun, there’s no need for me to force myself to create things if I’m not feeling it.

15. Now let me throw on the black cape and white mask and ask… “What’s your favorite scary movie?”

Hellraiser!!!  There’s this other movie coming out soon that I’m super excited about.  It has the most frightening zombie ever!!  You may have heard of it?  It’s called Caustic Zombies and the trailer can be found here ~ www.daggervisionfilms.com  You may even recognize said frightening zombie. *ahem*