Cassie (born 1970, USA) & Ernie Velasco (born 1966, Philippines) are a husband and wife duo who create art both independently & collaboratively. Most well known for their sculptures and toys, which they release under the doubleparlour name. Predominately made in epoxy clay and resin, sculpted free-form style, & released as one offs or in small runs – doubleparlour’s works are bursting with personality & filled with a sense of whimsey & darkness.

Having been deeply involved in the designer toy and pop-surrealist scenes for roughly 20 years now; doubleparlour have also worked with companies such as Toy Art Gallery, Lulubell Toys, & Kidrobot on larger editions of their works. Bringing their art to the masses in mass produced plastic form.

A sculpture by doubleparlour.

Wanting to get to know them better, we sent Cassie & Ernie some questions to answer over email.
Take a dive into their colourful, collaborative world; below…

Getting Acquainted

Names + D.O.Bs?

Ernie Velasco, November 1966
Cassie Velasco, December 1970

City, State and Country you currently call home?

Guerneville, CA, USA

City, State and Country you’re each from?

Cassie – San Diego, CA, USA.
Ernie – Makati, Philippines.

A series of toys / sculptures by doubleparlour.

How did you two come to connect – both romantically & creatively?

When I was in college, Ernie was in a punk rock band called Dustcough with my sister’s boyfriend Andy, who was also Ernie’s best friend. I came home during one short break from school and went to see their band play at a dive bar in Ocean Beach.
Ernie played guitar.
My sister suggested that maybe Ernie and I would be a good fit, “What about him?”

Fast forward to when I went back to San Diego after college, I started hanging out with Ernie and going for walks, vespa rides, and ice cream. We moved in together after he returned from a trip to NYC. We worked in restaurants and hung out for about a year and a half until we moved to San Francisco after his friend Andy died.
His death was devastating and a catalyst to move and start fresh. We were then in our mid 20’s, perfect time to live in SF. So much music, art, community events.

We got married 10 years into the relationship, it just felt like the right time.

In 2006, we decided to collaborate on an art project.
We started a series of acrylic paintings called “Conversations” in which one person would start the painting and the other would finish. The compositions varied in subject matter. We opened a store on Etsy to sell the pieces. This was when Etsy was still small and had more handmade work than mass-produced.

One of Cassie & Ernie’s early collaborative works under their doubleparlour name.

We started doing sculptures after we watched a video tutorial from a local Bay Area artist John Casey on creating figures in polymer clay. It was so great to be able to sculpt in this material at your own pace and bake in the toaster oven, no kiln needed.
Our initial figures were somewhat rough with poked eyes and lumpy limbs.

We soon learned that polymer clay was fragile and pieces were breaking in shipping. So we switched to epoxy clay, which is an air dry, strong, and archival medium.
The figures started getting refined and we started showing at galleries after a few initial shows at small boutiques and a vintage clothing store. The vintage stores show was curated by Lauren Napolitano, a really good tattoo artist which I am lucky to have a tattoo from.
In addition to gallery shows, we did a lot of craft fairs and conventions. We met a lot of other artists, both from the Bay Area and national/international that we admired, so it was an exciting time for us. The fairs/cons were both exhilarating (meeting other artists) and exhausting (two introverts smiling incessantly while wanting to escape the booth).

We also got really involved in the toy art scene. Our work sort of overlapped between toy art and lowbrow art. We did a few projects with Lulubell Luke, TAG (Toy Art Gallery), and Kidrobot which produced a few of our figures in vinyl.

A one-off custom Merryner soft vinyl figure by doubleparlour.
[The Merryner series of 4 figures was produced in collaboration with Toy Art Gallery in 2015.]

Please describe some memories – such as art, music, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, travel, work… anything really – from the stages of your lives noted below:

* Your childhood:

I grew up in San Diego county, oldest of five siblings in a somewhat conservative, catholic family. My parents were from Chicago, but hated the weather, so they spent their honeymoon on a road trip from Chicago to San Diego to set down roots.
I had a happy childhood. We lived in a mobile home park called Poway Royal Estates, which I knew even as a seven year old was a ridiculous name. However, it was a great place to be a kid, there were swimming pools, tennis courts, mellow roads for bike riding, and a creak full of tadpoles and crawfish.
I went to a Catholic grade school were I met by best friend on the first day of first grade. I pretty much mostly hung out with her until she moved away the summer after seventh grade. There were only about 25 kids in each class, so the pool of people that you could want to be friends with was small. The school was run by Irish nuns who were kind of strict, but were not allowed by this time to wrap your knuckles with a ruler or anything like that.

Cassie as a kid.

Raised by a gambler and a religious mother, my childhood was pretty mundane. My father was rarely around. My Mother didn’t say much and kept to herself.
Lacking in guidance and role models, I was mostly bored. Relationships with older siblings were nonexistent.
I went to a coed Catholic school run by nuns.
In the middle of first grade, my family moved to Bohol, an island in the Central Visayas known for Chocolate Hills and its beaches. At first I got teased a lot for speaking Tagalog and not the local dialect at the new school. The girl seated behind me was relentless. So I turned around and tried to poke her in the eye with my sharp pencil.
I learned that dialect quickly.

One memory that stuck with me at this stage of my life was when my father snuck me in to a cockfight. I remember being frightened from all the yelling and cheering . After witnessing two fights which were quick and bloody, he took me outside to wait in our Jeep. Someone must have said something or he just noticed I looked uncomfortable.
I realized early on that he was a terrible gambler from the food that was served on the table. He even tried to make one of his defeated rooster into Chicken Adobo. Of course the meat was too tough and inedible.

Ernie as a kid.

* Your teenage years:

Going from Catholic grade school to a public high school felt like the whole world opened up. Different points of view, drugs, my first boyfriend and navigating where I fit in.
My sister and I had a group of girlfriends that we did everything with until my senior year when two of them checked themselves into rehab. We were into goth and punk music and were out seeing bands all the time. There were a few venues like Che Café at UCSD that were all ages and then a few others that didn’t bother to card. It was a wild time including trips down to Tijuana to go to clubs on Avenida Revolucion with fake IDs that looked nothing like us.
I am glad we all survived it with most of our brain cells intact.

Cassie in her teens with a friend.

Now back in Manila for high school at an all boys Catholic school run by LaSallian Brothers, teenage years was typical. Skateboarding , punk rock and hating high school.

There was one DJ who had a radio show called BraveNewWorld at an AM radio station in Manila that played rad music and promoted local punk shows at On Disco which was a gay bar/disco on most nights. Third World Chaos and Betrayed were the bands I remember from those shows.
Also during this decade , I took beginning and intermediate classical guitar lessons.

Ernie in his teens – As seen on his high school ID card.

* Your 20s:

My late teen years/early twenties were spent in junior college and then off to Humboldt State at age 21. The college is in a little hippy town in Northern California. I stayed in the dorms the first year then a Victorian house the second year that was the neighborhood cat hang out.

I graduated with my BFA and moved back to SD, and then in my mid-twenties Ernie and I moved to San Francisco. We lived in a few neighborhoods, but the lower Haight was the best by far in my opinion. I worked at a little art boutique most of the time, made new friends and went to see lots of bands and art events.
We got around by foot or by bus and really got to know the city.

Cassie in her 20s.

Aside from working at restaurants, early 20s was mostly spent going to band practices and shows. I saw Melvins (Ozma tour) and Pitchfork (later evolved into Drive Like Jehu) at the old Casbah in San Diego. That show made me want to play electric guitar and be in a band. So I did that for a few years.
The last band I was in was Dustcough with a close friend who eventually died of drug overdose. He was witty and a brilliant bassist.

Ernie in his 20s, playing live with one of his old bands.

* Your 30s:

In my 30s, I took a pharmacy technician course and that led to a career in healthcare in various roles, which I love. I worked at a hospital in the city for 17yrs, doing doubleparlour on the nights and weekends.

Ernie and I tied the knot in my mid-thirties, the ceremony was held in golden gate park with a few close friends and family.

At this stage, I was just working at restaurants. It was a time in SF when restaurant work was easy to get. I remember working from one restaurant to another and taking a month or two off in between jobs.
There were an abundance of cocaine at nicer restaurants I worked at, so I did some of that too.

After years in the savory side, I took some pastry classes at CCA and got a pastry production job with Chef Heather Ho soon after. She was a great boss and creative chef. I learned a lot of techniques from her. When she left to work at Windows of the World in World Trade Center, I moved on to work as a pastry chefs at another restaurant.
Chef Ho died on 9/11.

This would also be around the time I got more interested in making art.

A photo from Cassie & Ernie’s wedding.
When they were both in their 30s.

* Your 40s:

From my late 30s to early 40s, we had several deaths of close family members, including one of my brothers. I think of him often and miss him. He was a lost soul who didn’t believe he quite fit in anywhere.

In my late 40s, we left SF to move to the woods in Sonoma County. That was a huge change from living in the city, which I still miss from time to time.
We now have an actual yard with dirt and plants and not just concrete and weeds.

My Mom and sister died in my early 40s. A few years later, I quit my pastry chef job to do art full time.

Right before I turned 50, we moved to the woods and I became a recluse.

Cassie and Ernie in their 40s.

* Your 50s so far:

So for the last 6 months, I work from home now. That has certain advantages, but now my world is smaller.
The house, built in 1948, needs a lot of work and TLC, which now I have time to do.
There are no spirits currently residing here, so that part is quiet and peaceful, it has been a while since I lived somewhere without active ghosts. That said, I still won’t ever again sleep with my feet uncovered in bed, lesson learned!

Everything hurts.
Especially listening to other people talk nonsense.

A run of custom Bahnee soft vinyl figures by doubleparlour.
[The Bahnee was produced in collaboration with Lulubell Toys in 2013.]

Personal motto(s)?

I don’t have a personal motto, I never have had a hero. So instead I will leave you a few sentences from “The Enemies” by Dylan Thomas:
In the fields was a little house with a garden.
The valley roared around it, the wind leapt at it like a boxer, but the house stood still.
To Mr. Davies it seemed as though the house had been carried out of a village by a large bird and placed in the very middle of the tumultuous universe.

Aji No Moto

What role did toys play in your childhoods?

Playing outdoors was the biggest thing for me growing up and going to friends’ houses to hang out. So toys were not a huge deal to me, although now I collect old composition dolls.
At one point, my sister and I had some really cool Barbie stuff like the RV, but then my parents decided that Barbie portrayed the wrong image/role model for young girls and took them away….this was the 70s. So we would just play with Barbie at my friend’s house.

I didn’t have many toys growing up. I had some Bandai figures and the GI Joes with parachutes that I would light the figure on fire before throwing it up in the air.

I spent a lot of time outdoors riding my bike with banana seat and playing basketball, soccer, marbles, and spider fights with the neighbors’ kids.

A sculpture by doubleparlour.

Creativity Questions

When and why did you each first become interested in art, sculpting, toy making and everything creative?
… and any pivotal creative moments / influences?

As a child, I started writing poetry around 9 yrs old, I think that is what first fuelled my creative drive. I continued to write poems through college. It was a huge outlet for pent up anxiety and was comforting. I was very shy and socially awkward as a kid.

We had a whole series of Encyclopaedia Britannica books, dark brown faux leather with gold lettering on the covers. They were a family pride I think. I remember flipping through one of them once and turned the page to a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike and I jumped and tore the page.
I was afraid I would get in trouble, so I didn’t tell anyone.
There were a ton of dog breed photos in the encyclopaedia. I drew a whole series of probably about 10 different dogs, with the name of the breed written at the bottom of the paper. I think I was around 9 or 10 then. My parents hung those crayon drawings across the top of the living room wall, my first art show.

I was a late bloomer when it came to art.
After moving to San Francisco, I needed a creative outlet since I wasn’t playing music anymore. Took a semester of basic drawing and painting classes. Then a few semesters of printmaking.

Whilst you are both well known for your collaborative work – What other creative outlets do you each pursue individually, if any?

Once in a while we will work on solo art or craft projects, but making sculptures for DP is our main gig.

More of a hobby that a creative outlet, I restore and make plinths for turntables from 1950-60’s. I particularly like the idler drives from Garrard, Thorens, and Rek O Kut.

A sculpture by doubleparlour.

If you had to explain your work as doubleparlour to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?

C&E: Hand sculpted resin figures inspired by vintage figurines, dolls and Bandai toys.
They have sad, world weary, mischievous, or sick looking faces and wearing a costume or headwear associated with festive events.

What is your usual process and materials used to create your wonderful sculptures and toys?

C&E: We use epoxy clay and resin to create our pieces.
Epoxy clay allows us to build the figures gradually. Starting with an armature made of aluminium foil or styrofoam and adding the epoxy clay to create the torso/body and then adding limbs, clothes, and other details.

Since we don’t do sketches beforehand, the pieces evolve as they are being created.
The material air dries and sticks to itself, so pieces can be formed over days or weeks.

Once the piece is sculpted, it is sanded and then painted and varnished.

A series of toys / sculptures by doubleparlour.

Who are some of your favourite toy-makers, artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?

Toy makers: Velocitron (Ricki Wilson)
Artists: Eva Hesse
Writers: My favorite authors are Dylan Thomas and Agatha Christie, I got to see an Agatha Christie play in London with my Dad and sister in my early twenties.
My Dad is also a big AC fan and has also read all her books.
Films: The Pillow Book by Peter Greenaway, Black Christmas by Bob Clark
Musicians: Neko Case is one of my favorite musicians, songs rooted in loss and hope, with story driven lyrics. If this is one of those “desert island” questions, I would take an album each of Neko Case, Tom Waits, and Sleater-Kinney.

Toy makers: Yukinori Dehara. I like the rough and handmade look of his figures. There’s also a lot of humour in his work.
SkullHeadButt for heavily textured monster figures.
Writers: The most books I’ve read by the same author is Jim Thompson.
Filmmakers: Jean Jeunet et Marc Caro, Brothers Quay.
Artist: Philip Jackson.
Musicians: I’m constantly discovering musicians around the world from the past or present. Music is so much more accessible these days.
I just saw a short documentary on Jackson C Frank’s tragic life. He’s my current favorite musician.

If people wanted to check out your stuff, work with you or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit and how should they get in touch?

C&E: We do most of our advertising and connect with folks via Instagram. We also have a website.
IG: doubleparlour

Odds & Ends

What does God mean to each of you?

Cassie: Everything and nothing.
I have a spiritual side, but a complicated relationship with organized religion, I left the church at 17yrs.
Recently I have begun exploring new spiritual paths and reading about different traditions.

God is a spiritual or moral guide.

Does sex change everything?

I’m sure the song goes, “maahné, money changes everything.”

What are the top 3 items you guys own?
… and what is it about each of them that you so love?

Vintage turntables and an expansive collection of mono and stereo records (we listen to music everyday, we both work from home).

2 of Cassie & Ernie’s vintage record players.

Old family photos (for nostalgia).

Our cats Noree and Tsumeko (which are not things but would be the first we would grab in an evacuation).

Cassie & Ernie’s much loved cats Noree and Tsumeko.

Please describe each of your last dreams in detail…

I don’t remember dreams.
But a few times, I had night terrors where I woke up screaming or asking for help.

All my recent dreams entail me with a couple of close family members or friends. The premises is always the same:
We are in a home or other building (some sort of gathering place) and are working on acquiring items on a list that we need. There is always a list or clear agenda.
I feel that I am trying to finish something and that is why this dream needs to dominate as a reoccurring theme.
When I wake up I don’t remember many details except who was there and some details of the structure.

Of everything you have done so far, what would you each most like to be remembered for?

C&E: Probably the insane amount of figures we have created over the years. But if we had to choose one piece that really exemplifies our work, it would be Odette.

Odette – a work Cassie & Ernie feel best exemplifies their work as doubleparlour.
(Cat not included.)


All images supplied by Cassie & Ernie or sourced online.