For Women in Horror Month, we talk with talented artist Hayley Jones about her passion for art and horror and her flourishing brand.
A lot of us find comfort in all things spooky, surrounding ourselves with artwork, and consuming stories and movies to feed the need for the weird. Others find themselves needing to create and help bring the spooky world closer to our own reality. Meet Hayley Jones, an artist who merged her passion for art with her love of horror to create truly eye catching artwork on accessories such as Starbucks cups and handbags. It wasn’t until a year ago when Hayley focused her artwork into a way to brand herself and start a business doing what she loves, and she is gaining a lot of attention (she just became a brand ambassador for Hot Topic). It’s an honor to introduce you to Hayley Jones!
1. How did you discover your passion for art?
Art has always been a huge part of my life! Growing up, I used to sit and watch my dad create the most beautiful drawings and paintings. He taught me everything I know. I used to draw all day, every day from kindergarten to now. My notes were always covered in doodles. I won awards in school for my art, and outside of school as well. The funny thing is, I was never a painter. In fact, I hated it! Especially in college! I always preferred creating with a pencil and pen. But one day, a little over a year or so ago, I painted Ghost Face on a Starbucks cup. That cup changed everything for me. That same day I switched from pens and pencils to paint brushes and haven’t looked back.
2. How did you get the idea to start putting your artwork on Starbucks cups? And how did you think to put it on backpacks and handbags?
I was browsing Etsy one day and saw a bunch of Starbucks cups that had decal stickers on them. I thought that was pretty neat and wanted to try it out myself. When I started brainstorming ideas, I thought, “well hey, why not just paint designs or characters on cups? That would be pretty cool!” So, I gave it a shot. I painted the Ghost Face on a cup and my twitter friends loved it so I kept going! I started painting other characters and was really enjoying it. Eventually, I told myself I wanted to branch out, so that’s when I had the idea to paint on other items, like backpacks and handbags.
3. You’ve found some success establishing a social media presence and creating avenues to spread the word and sell your work. What steps did you take to help build your brand?
I never expected to reach the amount of followers I now have on both of my social media platforms. When I painted the Ghost Face cup, I posted it expecting only a few likes, like I normally received on Twitter. However, the next day, I woke up to over 500 likes and many retweets! I thought that was so wild, but it motivated me to paint more. The more I painted, the more my art was shown around Twitter.
That’s when I decided to give away one of my cups (basically a thank you for all the support I had received), and that giveaway really helped my art reach so many more people, even being noticed by the actor who played Art the Clown [David Howard Thornton] in the movie Terrifier! Eventually, I decided to branch out and start sharing my art on Instagram as well. Not sure what happened, but that’s when my brand really started to take off!
4. Most of your artwork is horror based. Why do you feel so drawn to that genre?
Oddly enough, I have always been comforted by horror and spooky related things. Maybe it’s because I was born two days before Halloween! I started reading horror books at a very young age, and greatly enjoyed books with creepy illustrations in them, such as, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and In a Dark, Dark, Room and Other Scary Stories. I would say those books introduced me into the world of horror and I’ve been hooked ever since.
5. I know you like to listen to music while you work. Can you share what music you listen to and in what way does it benefit your process?
I usually listen to alternative rock, pop-punk, progressive/heavy metal and rock. Some of my favorite artists include Cloudkicker, The Used, Blink-182, Brand New, Deftones, Paramore, and many more! I absolutely love listening to music while I create. I put my headphones on, put my music on shuffle, turn up the volume and really jam out while I’m painting, it’s like my little escape from reality. Listening to music also helps me focus and it motivates me in a way. I noticed when I don’t have anything playing while I’m painting I get distracted very easily!
6. As an artist, what artists (in any medium) inspire you? What is it about their work that resonates with you?
A couple of artists come to mind right away! Edward Gorey, Tim Burton, Dirk Zimmer, and Stephen Gammell. They all create such hauntingly beautiful artwork. I absolutely love the books that Zimmer and Gammell illustrated. I grew up watching Tim Burton movies and always felt so inspired afterwards. I was introduced to Edward Gorey later on in life and instantly fell in love with his spooky stories and illustrations. I own most of Edward Gorey’s books now, and I was honored to have one of my drawings featured in his home! All of these artists have been major influences on me and helped cultivate my love for all things spooky.
7. What’s next for you, both as an artist and a businesswoman? Can we expect to see more clothing, accessories, or even a booth at a future horror convention?
My plan is to branch out, so yes! There will be clothing & accessories in the near future. Eventually, I want to digitally paint my art so I can make prints, buttons, stickers, shirts, etc! I’ve been asked a few times if I want to sell my art at horror conventions and I am so down to. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I’m working towards it!
8. Lastly, please share with us where people can find you on social media and keep up to date with your work and what you’re doing.
You can find me on Instagram at @cupofhorrors and on twitter at @cupofhorror!