Attend any horror convention and you’re bound to run across a plethora of fascinating, creative, and incredible artists who offer everything from enamel pins to original artwork to custom clothing and more. A horror con is a smorgasbord of macabre imagination, a place where those who delight in the darker side of life can not only find more of their own but also ways to make their own daily lives that much more…interesting.
At this year’s Motor City Nightmares, which is currently taking place at the Sheraton Detroit in Novi, Michigan, I met sculptor Mike Skaggs, whose works of art immediately caused me to stop strolling up and down the aisles of t-shirts, action figures, posters, and used DVDs. I can’t pinpoint what exactly it was about Skagg’s work that was so arresting. Perhaps it was the way he took iconic horror characters and gave them a look that is a cross between Saturday morning cartoons and comic books. It might be the resin cast masks that practically scream to be the face of a horror franchise. Whatever it is, Skagg’s artwork has “it”.
Doing this for the past eight years, Skagg says that his beginning was more in creating figures, a given since he’s a devoted collector himself. “I always wanted to make action figures,” he explains adding that he started out with a line of zombie creatures called “Zombuddies”, a series he intends on bringing back thanks to the love and, let’s be real here, obsession of longtime fans. After the “Zombuddies”, Skaggs then sculpted a Freddy figure, followed by Jason and Michael adaptations, each taking elements from all the films in their respective franchise. But while more modern villains are certainly fun to sculpt, Skaggs says that his interest lays more with the classics.
“I like doing them more,” Skaggs tells me as he points to figurines of 1922’s Nosferatu and 1958’s The Fly. Coming up, Skaggs plans on creating a character that hasn’t received too many action figure adaptations: Jack Torrance from The Shining. The plan is that this character will be ready for conventions later this Summer.