Post Mortem Custom’s Kyle makes one-of-a-kind nightmare creations out of clay, and they are jaw-droppingly good and wickedly cool.
I’ve been following an insanely talented artist on Instagram for a while now. His name is Kyle Young, and his company is Post Mortem Custom (PMC) out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He does these incredible sculptures out of clay, usually inspired by horror films but always with a morbidly beautiful twist. Sometimes, he will take something sweet and innocent, like a beloved character or property from our childhoods (something like Peanuts or Winnie the Pooh), and he will create something that is both macabre and demented but also strangely comforting.
I recently saw a post from Kyle highlighting several ready-to-buy pieces. While PMC began as a side gig and passion project, COVID changed everything for Kyle (like many of us), and he began creating his art full-time. His work is so reasonably priced, especially given the amount of detail and creativity, and he relies solely on word-of-mouth and Instagram followers to support him.
I reached out and asked if I could profile him on this site, and he graciously agreed to take time out to answer my questions.
Hello, Kyle. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us about Post Mortem Custom. Can you tell our readers a bit more about who you are and how you got started doing custom clay pieces?
Thanks so much for this opportunity!
My background in art stems from my love of drawing cartoons, which stems back to my childhood. I was always drawing, and I ventured into oils at the age of 13. I don’t have any formal training in clay work, which is my current medium of choice. It’s all just watching many YouTube videos and learning by trial and error. I’m still learning to this day, which is what keeps it so exciting.
My shop, Post Mortem Custom, has been around since 2018. The entire thing came out of nowhere, honestly. The first piece I ever did was a custom Funko of Kurt Cobain. I am a fan of the darker stuff, so I wanted to make a piece I know I’d love. I decided I wanted to make a post-suicide Cobain just for me. I posted it on my page, and people loved it.
Within about a year, I had made and sold 15 of them — each different and unique.
In the beginning, all I did was dark/morbid custom funkos (serial killers, death scenes, and other morbid stuff just to make me laugh; I have a dark sense of humor!). In July of 2021, a friend of mine named Mike requested I make him a piece from scratch inspired by Monkeybone. It was the very first time I had done anything with no idea how I was going to pull it off.
I took the challenge, killed it, and have been doing only pieces completely from scratch since then.
Do you consider yourself a big horror fan, and if so, what first got you into genre films?
I’m a huge horror fan! My love for horror started when I was around 7 or 8. That’s when I first saw the original Friday the 13th. It started to get scary, and I went to change the channel, but the batteries were dead. So I just sat there and held my shit together (lol). I guess you could say fate intervened to make me a horror fan.
My favorite Horror film of all time is Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’m not the biggest fan of modern horror, as it doesn’t pack the same punch as the films from the Golden Age of Horror.
I do, however, love to pay tribute to genre films of all kinds in my art. My love of horror is what attracted me to creating what you might call dark or morbid art. It moves me and inspires me in a powerful way.
Do you have a piece that’s a personal favorite, and why do you love it so much?
To be honest, many of my pieces are my favorites. But I’ve done two pieces in my career that emotionally drained me and are incredibly important to me.
One was a piece I titled “constant state of anxiety and depression” — and it is what is in my head 24/7/365. It represents something I have struggled with since I was about 19 or so, and I’ll be 50 this year.
The second piece was my Eeyore piece. I see a lot of myself in Eeyore. And when it was done, and I posted it for sale, I was sad. It was hard to let go of. It only took a few days to sell. And to this day, I still love and miss that piece.
What’s the most rewarding and challenging part of your work?
To me, the most rewarding thing about creating and selling art is being blown away that people enjoy my creations and want to spend their hard-earned money on them. Since selling my very first piece, up till the last one I sold, I am still in awe that people want to support me. It means the world.
The most challenging part of my creations is something most people are not even aware of. I have suffered from hand tremors since I was a child. Thus, when the pieces are small and detailed, it can be a challenge to stay steady and get them done. About a year ago, the tremors moved from just affecting my hands to both of my arms.
I don’t talk about it because I’d rather people focus on my work and not feel sympathy for me or make fun of me for my condition. However, if being honest about my personal struggles helps someone else, then it’s absolutely worth it.
How have you built a successful business?
It’s just word-of-mouth marketing. I make a piece that I love. Then I post it on my Instagram page and really just hope for the best. I make everything with love and passion, and I hope that comes through and excites others who may want to support what I do.
I try to follow other artists I am a fan of or inspired by. It’s always helpful and appreciated when another artist shares my work. That way, their fans can see my work and discover me. As an independent artist, I don’t have a budget for advertising, and getting the word out can be difficult. I create art for a niche audience, so I always rely on the kindness of those who follow me and love what I’m doing to like my posts, comment on them, save them, and share them. This helps more people find me and, hopefully, brings more interested buyers to my page.
Where do you get your creative inspiration, and what is your creative process like?
The inspiration I get honestly just comes from random odd thoughts that pop into my head when I see certain characters.
My process is really simple. I get an idea in my head and visualize what I think it should look like. Then I sit down at my dinner table and just start playing with the clay until I figure out where to begin. I let the clay guide me. It’s a lot of just jumping in head first and hoping for the best, but I find that’s where my best and most creative ideas come from. I try not to overthink it and just let the art flow through me.
What would you say to someone who said custom art is too expensive?
Creating anything with your hands is time-consuming and not cheap. The process of creating my art takes from 3 days to a week to complete to my standards. Handmade, one-of-a-kind items cost what they do because of that reason. Supplies cost quite a bit as well. Then you factor in the time it takes, as well as the talent and creativity. I work very hard to keep my prices as affordable as possible so that more people can enjoy them. It’s why I offer so many ready-to-buy pieces in addition to my custom work to control the costs better and give my followers a chance to scoop up one of my pieces for immediate delivery instantly.
Even if someone buys a ready-made product, they are still getting something that is one-of-a-kind. That’s important to me. Art is something meaningful and beautiful, and it’s a piece of myself I share with those who support me.
At the time of this interview, I know you have several pieces that are ready to find a new home. Can you share some of the killer works of art people can pick up from you right now?
Absolutely! I’ve been busy, and I have a lot of really cool items that are ready to ship.
Most of my figures at 8″ and above are just $220 shipped in the United States (I do ship internationally, and I’m happy to quote overseas shipping costs).
Each piece ranges from 8″ (Mr. Potato Head) to 14″ tall (Beetlejuice Jack). Patrick (from Spongebob Squarepants) is 8.5″ tall, while Spongebob himself is 11″ tall. Snoopy is 11.5″ tall, and Charlie Brown is 12.5″ tall (I would love to sell these as a set). Mike Wazowski and Common Sense are 9″ tall. The Yellow M&M and the Tweety are 12″ tall, and the Dissected Cookie Monster and Lament Configuration are both 12″ in diameter.
If you want to order any of these items, just DM me on Instagram @postmortemcustom.
I also have some pieces that are a bit less expensive. These include The Cramps wall hanging (8″) and the Sgt-D wall hanging, each just $200 shipped. The Motörhead wall hanging is 11″ and is also just $200 shipped in the United States. Forky is a whopping 14.5″ tall and is insanely priced at just $160 (plus shipping). Finally, I have even an adorable 6″ tall Hugsy from Friends at just $60 (plus shipping).
If someone wanted a custom piece created by you, what does that process look like?
The process of ordering from me couldn’t be easier!
The average cost of the pieces I have readily available is around $200. The price of a commissioned piece is determined by what the client wants, the size of the piece, and the amount of intricate detail work involved. Just about anything you can imagine can be created, with pieces ranging in size from about 9 inches to 24 inches tall.
The turnaround time can vary based on the demands of the piece, but most customs are turned around in as little as one week.
When I work with a new client, I ask a ton of questions to ensure I’m able to bring their vision to life perfectly. As I work on the project, I send many in-progress pics to the customer, so they can see how it’s developing and make any necessary changes. Once we have an approved design, I prepare to bake it. After it’s baked, we finalize the colors together, and I prepare the finished project. Many clients prefer that the finished piece remain a surprise, which is fun. But I’m also more than happy to give clients a preview before it ships.
Unless I have express consent, I will not post a custom piece until the client has received it and confirmed it’s perfect. I typically request clients refrain from doing live unboxing videos just in case anything has been damaged in transit (by the carrier). I do work hard to package each item carefully and do everything in my power to keep the item well-protected. My goal is to ensure every customer is absolutely delighted with their purchase.
How can people follow your work and stay up-to-date with your latest creations?
I’m most active on Instagram, sharing all my custom creations (with client approval) and ready-to-order items. That’s also the easiest and fastest way to reach me to order a product or begin the custom design process. You can find me on Instagram at @postmortemcustom.
When I’m not working on a commission, I will typically release a new piece once a week. I encourage you to turn on notifications, so you’ll always know when I’ve got something new to check out!