New Jersey based toy designer and artist, Kasey Tararuj (aka One-Eyed Girl and winner of Kidrobot’s 2012 Munnyworld competition), makes art to deal with and express life with a disability. Along with emanating vibes of serious awesomeness, she was kind enough to share inspirations, joys, her true spirit animal…
bunnyhawk >> Where are you from, what does your typical day look like, and how do you like to clear your head?
KT >> Born and residing in central New Jersey, my typical day starts at an office job where I (secretly) design and research what my next pieces will be. I spend the remainder of my nights sculpting, painting, creating lots of fun little creatures while I listen to my favorite TV shows and movies. That is more than enough to clear my head before I pass out for the night.
bunnyhawk >> Your art is made to deal with express life with a disability – paralyzed since 2000 – were you an artist before this, or was it something you came to after?
KT >> I was only fourteen when this happened, but I had been extremely interested in art prior. They were just middle school drawings and paintings but I loved it, which is why I continued after the paralysis. This passion of mine just turned out to be very therapeutic and comforting, which I needed.
bunnyhawk >> You churn out what looks to be a very impressive (time consuming!) inventory of amazing artworks – how many pieces do you average per week would you say?
KT >> I couldn’t even tell you. Depends on the deadlines and my week’s schedule. I use Magic Sculpt for my toys, which hardens after a few hours… so I tend to work on a bunch of pieces at the same time, which I think helps me produce more, faster.
bunnyhawk >> Where do you find inspiration?
KT >> In other artists: I myself love to collect others’ work. Silly things I see on a daily basis: I like to make silly characters that don’t necessarily make sense. Things I love: I used to create art to express stupid, sad emotions – but I’m at the point in my life where I just want to make art that makes me giggle to myself like an idiot.
bunnyhawk >> Collaborations you’ve done with other artists…?
KT >> I’ve worked with a good friend of mine, Bill Hewitt (Lickyourelbow) a lot. We’ve done collab paintings, and work together on daily sketches and ideas… He’s my go-to for advice and opinions. I’ve done a lot of collaborations, mostly for shows, creating customs using artists original platforms, such as Rocketboy, Wetworks, Southerndrawl, Blue Frog World, Sjero, Ezerd, etc. I’m sure there are more, but I’m drawing a blank.
bunnyhawk >> What’s the story behind the decks you did? And what about the paintings on wood?
KT >> The decks I’ve done have been for a traveling show with Art Deck Company. They put on “the largest skateboard art show on earth!” with hundreds of decks designed by different artists in various locations. Sculptures are my favorite to create, but I also really enjoy painting on wood and canvas. I use the same style as my sculptures to create little 2D paintings, and I also do a whole other series called One-Eyed Girls which are just distorted but pretty female figures. I especially love sculpting on wood to give the paintings a fun 3D effect. It’s a fun combination.
bunnyhawk >> Can you tell us about the first figure you ever made – what was the process and do you still have it?
KT >> The very first Munny I made was with (I think) super sculpey but it was more in the style of my older work rather than the fun bug-eyed cartoony guys. It was a tree-like figure with female figures painted within the tree bark. I loved it at the time, I actually do still have it
bunnyhawk >> If you had three spirit animals who defined you, what would they be and why?
KT >> I recently discovered my true spirit animal at the Santa Monica Pier this summer. A sea lion. We watched one cute little sea lion torturing, pouncing on, barking at, and being as annoying as possible to all her sleeping friends. That’s me. Then probably a bear, I like to eat a lot then sleep forever. And maybe a dolphin, I love to swim and be in the ocean.
bunnyhawk >> What’s your research process like? (Your little giraffes are THE cutest…) Do you pull reference? Or is it moreso a pull from dreams?
KT >> Thanks! I usually start from random image searches of animals but once I get going, I just do what I think looks right. I have been trying to have them resemble real animals a little less and just be whatever fun creature they want to be. I have tons of hybrid or made-up creatures brewing in my head that I want to make.
bunnyhawk >> Do you have a favorite memory from nature?
KT >> Not any one specific off the top of my head… I do love anywhere with a big, overwhelming beautiful view. Too many gorgeous places in California, Lake Tahoe, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc – or just the changing leaves in the fall. I’m a sucker for a pretty view.
bunnyhawk >> Where do you find the most joy?
KT >> Creating art, people enjoying art, finding a new amazing or inspiring artist, collecting other people’s art. But the more fun answer…. Disney parks, Halloween month, cotton candy, dinosaurs, a really good TV show or movie, snuggling with my pup under a heated blanket. I’m basically a child in a twenty nine year old body.