Paige Pearsall is an American artist working in the mediums of painting, illustration and sculpture who releases designer toys via her ‘Creature Feature’ brand, which Paige runs with assistance from her partner; fellow artist Matt Ritter.
Formally schooled in fine arts, Paige discovered the world of designer toys only a few years ago and since then has promptly released 3 resin figures to quick sell outs, and much acclaim: The Blob, Gamma-Ray Ghoul, and FrankCula.
Recently Paige’s fiance Matt also started sculpting and producing figures himself under the ‘Creature Feature’ umbrella – namely the Ghost Reaper and Barnacle Boi. Both of which were produced with assistance from Paige.
With all the releases from ‘Creature Feature’ being uniquely sculpted, full of personality, intricately crafted, and more colorful than a bowlful of radioactive lollies.
When asked to pinpoint the origins of her artistic journey, Paige mentions watching her father get a tattoo when she was a child, along with attending a Gwar concert as a teen as pivotal moments – directly connecting Paige to underground culture and everything outre.
“I have a vivid memory of my 12-year-old self-sitting with my dad while he was getting a new tattoo of a demonic devil face & thinking it was the coolest thing.
This jump started my love for trying to make the weirdest art possible, ultimately becoming a driving force behind my work throughout the years.
Gwar … opened me up to a whole new world of music and art. Seeing them with their DIY props, grotesque imagery and endless amount of splooge from Oderus’ cuttlefish, I continued to delve into the realm of oddities.“
With Paige and ‘Creature Feature’ well and truly established in the designer toy scene; we thought now was the perfect time to sit down with Paige to ask her some questions about life, her artistic process, toys, collaborating and whole lot more!
Read it all in the interview below…
Name + D.O.B?
City, State and Country you currently call home?
Bethlehem, PA, United States.
City, State and Country you’re from?
Emmaus, PA, United States.
Please describe some memories from key stages of your life: concerts, art, toys, romance, hunting, school, politics, crime, religion… ANYTHING really!
* Age 5 – beginnings:
As a child, I was a strange mixture of a tomboy girly girl who loved twirling dresses, princesses & kittens but at the same time could be found gallivanting outside playing in the mud, getting dirty & looking for the next coolest critter.
I had a strange obsession with lifting rocks in search for frogs, salamanders & snakes. This was partly due to growing up on a cattle farm and seeing sights that most children my age have not had the pleasure of seeing… live cow birth, castration and mounds upon mounds of poop.
Also, Titanic. Obsessed.
* Age 10 – continuations:
Drawing, drawing, drawing & some more drawing.
It was around this age I remember getting my first hard cover sketchbook & damn did I feel cool. I felt like a legit artist… who drew beanie babies & stuffed animals and brought to life my own “cool girl” cartoon characters with their own personalities & back-stories.
I also was obsessed with reading & found the magical world of Harry Potter which to do this day, is my favorite series.
Music became a pivotal time in my life as well. I quickly went from falling in love with boy bands (BSB will always reign supreme) to discovering Eminem and other hip hop/rap music sprinkled with some rock n’ roll.
I also remember having those cool headphones that wrapped behind your head and over your ears. I was your average pre-teen trying to fit in but be different at the same time.
* Age 15 – getting serious:
This is when things started getting weird. I was that girl with the dyed hair wearing the Korn shirt that listened to bad metal music.
I have a distinct memory of coming home from Hot Topic with bondage pants that my mom bought for me. They immediately had to be returned because my dad did not approve.
How could I possibly be cool without them?
I was so misunderstood.
I picked up playing the guitar for a few years. My dad would make me bust out some “hot jams” to play at parties, his favorite being Puddle Of Mud’s – She Hates Me.
For years I dreamed of being in a band but that never quite happened.
This is also the age that I attended my first Gwar concert with my brother. This opened me up to a whole new world of music and art. Seeing them with their DIY props, grotesque imagery and endless amount of splooge from Oderus’ cuttlefish, I continued to delve into the realm of oddities.
I also remember being obsessed with eating carrots to the point that the palms of my hands turned orange.
B-horror movies. The worse, the better.
* Age 20 – young adult:
College. The strangeness continues…
I attended Tyler School of Art & received my BFA with a concentration in oil painting.
I never quite got away from trying to make weird art. I called it “mixing the grotesque with the beautiful”, or in other words, an excuse to paint bizarre things & pitch it to my professors as though I knew what I was doing. I went through a period of painting creepy children & inbred degenerate looking folk. Eventually I matured slightly and moved on from the bizarre-o characters I was creating & began painting portraits of friends & acquaintances.
I also dressed up my big toe in various costumes and created a fake Facebook account for her. Hortensia “Hammertoe” Twatson.
Look her up for a good time.
All good things come to an end as college life drifted into post college life. A time of freedom, confusion, & not know what you are doing. I realized that they weren’t lying about the student loan debt & I got a real job to pay the bills.
I had an art studio for a short while but ultimately took a hiatus from the art world. I focused on enjoying life, friends & having a good time.
* Age 25 – adult mode:
This is about the time I began venturing back into the art world and picked up a teaching gig at Painting with a Twist where I continue to work part time. It is one of those BYOB paint & sip places geared towards middle aged women looking to get crunk on a Tuesday night.
It was during this time I met my now fiancé through the always-classy Tinder. He is the one who introduced me to this magical world of designer toys.
* Age 30 – fully formed:
Ask me in a year! Not quite 30 yet! I am holding onto that last year of my 20s with an iron fist!
It was my late 20’s that I began to venture into the toy world.
The more I looked at designer toys and the work of other artists, I began to question if I could do this too. Eventually I decided to dive in and go for it. Sculpting was completely new to me and opened up this whole world of possibilities. It felt great to work on something completely new and different than what I was used to.
“If you want it done right, do it yourself.”
(Thanks mom, you really drilled that in my head & I can’t get away from it)
Also – “Don’t be dick.”
Why the name ‘Creature Feature’?
The love of creatures & monsters & things that go bump in the night + the love of old B-Horror movies = Creature Feature!
Art, Design, and Toy Questions
When and why did you first start making art of any type!?
I’ve been making art since I could pick up a pencil. It’s always been a hobby of mine in some shape or form.
Any pivotal artistic moment(s) / influence(s)?
I have a vivid memory of my 12-year-old self-sitting with my dad while he was getting a new tattoo of a demonic devil face & thinking it was the coolest thing.
From that point on, I kept drawing these devil faces over & over. This jump started my love for trying to make the weirdest art possible, ultimately becoming a driving force behind my work throughout the years.
Had my dad never gotten that tattoo, I may still be drawing beanie babies and unicorns. Thanks, Dad!
Describe the process of producing your art? – Dot point all o.k!
* Your resin toys?
- Get psyched on an idea
- Create a super rough sketch that looks like garbage but good enough
- Begin the sculpt
- Get frustrated & trash what I’m working on
- Question myself as to why I just did that because now I have to start over & it really wasn’t that bad in the first place
- Start over
- Thank myself for starting over because it starts looking way better than the original
- Obsess over details that don’t matter
- Eventually tell myself I must stop otherwise I’ll never finish
- Begin the mold making process
- Let the casting experiments begin!
- Repeat steps 4-9 while casting
- Eventually get to a stopping point that I am satisfied with
* Your drawings, illustrations and paintings?
I would say my process for drawings, illustrations and paintings are very much the same as with resin toys.
It’s an emotional roller coaster. One second, I’m loving it, the next second; I’m question what I’m even doing.
Somewhere in the mix there’s an existential crisis.
Worst aspect of the art hustle?
I find originality to be a huge struggle.
There are times I have an awesome idea, only to find out its been done a hundred times. With technology & social media at our fingertips, it’s much more difficult to stand out amongst the sea of artists.
Appropriation comes in to play as well. Subconsciously we find ourselves straddling the line between pulling inspiration or paying homage to an artist vs. straight up copying them.
Best aspect of the art hustle?
The accessibility of everything is awesome & freeing. You can literally learn to do anything.
The introduction of YouTube and the like has created a DIY culture promoting all sorts of handmades. Anyone can create from the comfort of their home, you don’t have to be an “artist”. You can do it; my mom can do it, even grandma can… all with a little help from Google.
I never would have learned how to mold and cast without it, let alone knowing the designer toy scene existed.
Knowledge is at your fingertips and there is no excuse to not try something.
Favorite other artist(s)?
Salvador Dali, Mark Ryden, Odd Nerdrum – these are all painters who were super influential to me in my early days of art making. I was totally into the stylized nature and weird juxtapositions of characters these guys were creating.
Is the rise of art toys an indication of the changing nature of art? OR just a bunch of nerds with too much money and time?
I think a little of both.
Currently, nostalgia is a huge thing in pop culture. As my generation has grown up and gotten jobs, we’re able to make the things that we would have wanted as a kid.
It’s a bit self-indulgent but the rise of throwbacks and bootleg 80s / 90s toys are indicative of what people want. I think this is causing a shift from art being this pretentious unattainable entity to art being something more tangible. You can easily own it. You can even make it. It doesn’t have to be from a fancy gallery in New York to be considered art. It can literally be made in a basement of someone’s half a double home.
Thoughts on the current state of the Global Designer Toy Scene?
It’s a great way to connect with other cultures and opposite sides of the world. It’s awesome seeing people support each other and collaborate on projects.
Who knows, maybe toys can help close some of the cultural divide out there.
Your man Matt Ritter recently officially joined the ranks of the Designer Toy Scene with you both sharing a table at the recent ‘5 Points Festival’ in New York…
* How has it been having Matt join you as an art toy maker?
It’s been awesome! I couldn’t ask for a better partner and truly couldn’t do it without him. He’s there to bounce ideas off of, give me feedback, act as my hype man… and also talk me off the ledge when something isn’t going as anticipated.
It’s great that we both share this passion and is something we can do together. Also having that extra set of hands makes casting so much easier.
* Do you both collaborate on each other’s works – or are they all solo ventures?
We collaborate to an extent. I give him tips on sculpting, mold making, casting and making art in general. He’s there as the timekeeper, resin mixer and any other things needed when I’m casting. We also flesh out ideas when I begin a new creature.
He’s also the one main one responsible for the back-stories of each creature on my website.
* What advice would you give out there to other artist couples regarding life, art, and love anyhow?
At the end of the day, don’t let your art consume you or come between you. If it’s something both of you do together, make sure it’s enjoyable for both parties. Know it’s ok to have separate hobbies as well as ones you do together.
And don’t go to bed mad.
Odds and Ends
What role did toys play in your childhood(s)?
I never grew up with all the cool action figures. I only envied from afar.
My cousins always had the latest WWF wrestlers and would occasionally share. I on the other hand, got to play with Polly Pockets, which I absolutely loved. I would stare at all the intricate designs and colors and their outfits and wished I could be a Polly Pocket.
Beanie Babies were also a huge part of my childhood. I took one with me wherever I went.
Who was your 1st crush and why?
Leonardo DiCaprio. And I think that’s pretty self-explanatory… just look at him.
Does sex change everything?
My mom is probably going to read this so I’ll respond with “I wouldn’t know” 😉
Please describe what you think the American psyche / zeitgeist is today?
Capturing that perfect shot for the insty to get all the likes. Everyone has to keep up that social media facade.
Which cartoon character, would you most like to see in a tribute sex toy, and why?
[Please draw a prototype of your design!]
Pat-dick Star (Patrick Star from ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’).
He’s the sweet, loveable guy next door…. except this time he comes with a few extra attributes to fit every ladies’ needs.
Who would win in a fight and why: Frankcula Vs. the Gamma Ray Ghoul?
[Please draw the battle in all its violent beauty!]
Neither. The Blob would come charging through and demolish them in one fell swoop.
What are the top 3 items you own?
[Please include photos or drawings of them!]
1. Our dog Maple. I love that little freaky chicken nugget.
2. An old miniature Cuckoo Clock from my nana that passed early this year. She had a large collection that I was obsessed with and am honored to own one of hers.
3. Large steer skull – its just super cool.
Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?
Different for every person.
I think as long as it doesn’t define who you are and let it overtake your life, it can open your mind and spirit.
Please describe your latest dream in detail…
I can’t quite remember a recent one so Ill describe one from years ago that has been my favorite:
It began with me walking through a park on a cement pathway and when I came upon a bright shiny green alien whose head was a cylindrical shape. He was completely still as though he had froze mid step.
I had asked him, “Why are you standing still like that?”
He responds in his alien voice, “If I move, I will blow up.”
In response, I grab his fist and make him hit himself in the head while repeating over and over, “Why you hitting yourself? Why you hitting yourself?”
Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for and why?
Being a kind and genuine person. You never know what someone else is going through.
A little kindness can go a long way.
If people wanted to work with you or buy something – how should they get in touch?
DM me or shoot me an email! I don’t bite.
Any collaborations on the horizon?
Nothing set in stone at the moment. It’s definitely something I’m open to!
Any major projects you want to hype?
Definitely have plans & ideas but nothing I’m ready to announce quite yet.
I’ll just say the Blob isn’t the only one of his kind…