We interview the owner of Crystal’s Custom Creightions and talk to her about her horror-inspired, one-of-a-kind creations made from recycled materials
We recently discovered a talented new artist named Crystal Lee through a contest we held on our Instagram page where we asked our followers to tag their favorite horror shops. Out of all the wonderful artists we were introduced to, Crystal really caught our attention with her incredibly unique and wickedly cool one-of-a-kind works of art she calls her Custom Creightions. We jumped at the chance to get to know more about Crystal and her killer horror art.
INTERVIEW WITH CRYSTAL LEE, OWNER OF CRYSTAL’S CUSTOM CREIGHTIONS
Hi, Crystal! Please start by telling us about yourself and your background as an artist/creator?
I have always loved Halloween and when my daughter was born on October 26, 1999, I embraced it even more by dressing up with her to take her trick-r-treating. Later, when I was married, I started decorating my yard and was the talk of my neighborhood. I started making my own décor and props to save money. From there, I just started seeing ideas for new creations everywhere I went.
What inspired you to start selling your Custom Creightions?
I started for myself by making a life size reaper and Michael Myers for my own yard décor. The first piece I made to sell was when a 3ft tall Barbie doll I picked up at a thrift store to turn into an awesome zombie. I also found an old spice rack with all the jars and instantly thought, “There is a witch potion rack just waiting to be made!”
You specialize in darker/horror-themed art. What made you get into that particular style of art?
I love the blood, guts, and gore of it all. I have never been the kind of person that likes the silly little cute faced pumpkins or the happy ghost that say boo.
I love how you make old stuff new again by giving what some people consider “junk” new life and turning it into something unique and wonderful. What drew you to recycled/upcycled art?
One of my favorite quotes is “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” We waste enough in the world. Giving new life into something old and finding it a home makes me happy. This way of creating also helps keep prices low, which helps both me and my customers. I have always been the frugal type.
How long does it typically take you to create one of your unique custom creightions?
Well, when you factor in a teenage daughter, a job, a fur baby, a “to do list”, and life in general, ‘creightion’ time is all over the place. I might start on a project on a Monday night, but have to put it on hold until days later. Sometimes if I am making zombie dolls, I have to allow adequate time for paint or latex to dry. During that time, I may also start another creightion and have that going as well.
How do you get inspiration for new custom creigthions?
I will be at a thrift store, flea market, or yard sale and just see something and think, “Oh that would make a cool …” If the price is right, I will get it, bring it home and hope my idea in my head plays out into a cool new creightion.
Do you ever create something to sell and end up falling in love with it and keeping it for yourself?
LOL, so many, many times this has happened to me! I have kept a few, but I have to tell myself I can’t keep them all. I have ended up selling items that I regret later… wished I still had them.
What’s been your favorite custom creightion so far and what do you love about it?
My favorite custom creightion is one that I purposely did just for myself. I took an old model TV, gutted it, took my Walking Dead actions figures and created a scene that I can “watch” all the time. *HUGE WALKING DEAD FAN*
What do you love most about making and selling your art?
I found something (besides from my daughter) that gives me purpose. It makes me happy when people love my creightions and more happy when they buy them. I don’t mean to be brag, but I don’t think I am too bad at it considering I have never had any professional training.
You get a lot of rave reviews from happy customers. Is there anything that sticks out in your mind that someone has said…something that really impacted you or reinforced why you do this type of work?
I was once told that I was the Halloween Queen… kind of stuck, and I have that on my license plates now! I also have a customer all the way out in Nebraska that buys from me every year. He has left great reviews on eBay about my creightions that I find flattering. Local customers tell me about people who have seen a prop or décor piece they bought from me, and how they fell in love with it. I love that.
I always stress the fact that my creightions are one of a kind and not mass produced like at Wal-Mart, where every other person can have the exact same thing as you do. Unique makes interesting conversation pieces.
The young lady that entered me in the Morbidly Beautiful contest on Instagram, she was a customer of mine two years ago at a convention. It was very flattering that she remembered me and thought enough of me to recommend me. Because of that, I’m here today answering questions for this interview.
You’re obviously a huge horror fan. When and how did you first get into horror?
I think it all started when I was in the womb. My mother went and watched Jaws while pregnant with me, and while watching this movie she felt me kick for the first time. To this day, no matter how many times I watch it… Jaws always has a way of sinking its teeth in me, lol.
What are your top 5 favorite horror films?
Oh this is so hard! This is not a movie, but The Walking Dead hands down is my favorite zombie show, ever. Out of Michael, Freddy, and Jason… Michael Myers is my favorite. Zombies are my favorite sub-genre. I guess my top favorite films would have to be Halloween (1978), Jaws, The Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Demons, and Trick-r-Treat.
You have great taste in horror! Besides art, what are a few of your hobbies and interests?
I live for Halloween. I love going to horror conventions. I love decorating my yard for Halloween and passing out candy and hosting a Halloween party. I really have no interest in any other holiday. I despise Christmas (which is funny, because it’s my birthday).
Can you tell us a bit about some of the cool pieces you have for sale now and/or are working on as we get closer to Halloween?
I have been working all year on inventory. I have a Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead) book prop, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I also have a huge Daryl Dixon 3-D picture.
Most importantly, where can people go to buy some of your art and keep up with new custom creightions?
For local customers, I will be at Chesapeake, VA on October 7 for Monster Fest 2017 at the Chesapeake Public Library and at a local convention here in my area on October 28 at the New River Valley Community College in Dublin, VA.
Stay tuned to our Instagram page for an amazing giveaway coming soon from Crystal’s Custom Creightions!