A Day With Pulling Candy

Before I go ahead with this, I’m going to go ahead and warn you guys; the following images could be interpreted as graphic and disturbing.

You’ve been advised.

I am not disturbed.

See, a couple of days ago, I had the honor of working with fellow local photographer Kay Peers, better known as Pulling Candy, the Horror/Macabre moderator on the Deviant Art community. She’s a talent woman with a twisted perspective that rivals my own at times. Her gallery is filled with disturbing and frightening images of torture,  gore and troubling scenes. She’s not only about the sick and dark, though. She’s also taken some amazing nature, still life and animal photography.

And  what’s more, the girl can write. It’s as if she was born with the ability to adapt to any form of media, for when she pens a tale, Kay captures a realistic taste of humanity that can relate to almost everyone. With a voice of her own, she weaves words together in poetic symmetry, creating life from prose.

Her self portraits are breathtaking, using makeup to transform her into myths and legends, to bring out a fantasy in character. She is beautiful and knows the art of attraction.

Of course, what she is really know for is her ability to recreate scenes of horrific imagery, a talent she is popular for and helped her in taking over for Rockstarvanity as the moderator for the Horror/Macabre galleries. When you see the horror daily deviation at the bottom of the main page at Deviant Art, know that the final call was made by Kay Peers.

Of course, what really matters is the fact that I got to work with her. The images on my blog and on my Deviant Art account are all provided by Kay Peers. And earlier this week, I got to play around with her axe as she splattered me in blood. When Kay Peers says she’s going to make a mess, she means it.

That's Yours Truly

What Is In The Bag?

I Named The Axe Elisa
The best part of the whole day though was the opportunity to dig into her brain (metaphorically speaking here) and find out a little about her.

INTERVIEW WITH PULLING CANDY

When did you first decide to pick up a camera? When did you first decide this was something you wanted to do?

It all happened six years ago, When I was a new mother, in a new town, with no friends close by. I needed something to distract me, and make me feel like I was being productive, seeing as I am a stay at home mother. It sort of escalated from there. Building props and prosthetics, to me, is part of camera use – I figured, “Why am I making all this random stuff if I am not going to put it in to play?” I’ve sort of combined the two now in to one being, though I hardly upload what I create and take to the internet, not as much as I could or should. Speaking of that, the internet is also a reason I started photography. I wanted to find a niche and meet new people who were of the same ilk, which is when I started becoming seriously involved with Deviant Art.

What made you decide to pursue horror photography?

I don’t have an iron stomach. I actually fear the genre, I don’t read horror novels, I don’t watch horror movies, I have an unnatural and overwhelming fear of zombies, yet…there is something that is inspiring and almost free about creating violent art. I’d never hurt anybody in real life, I’d never hurt myself, but there is a certain sense of abandonment when you become ingrained in the darker culture, on or off line. I have a serious fascination (on the side lines) for B-Grade horror movies, old movie stars, serial killers and stigmas that just screams to me, “RECREATE US”, and so I do.

What is your prefered method of setting up a shot?

Not setting up a shot. Seriously. If I have to take the time to build something, to create an atmosphere, then the idea never comes out the same as if I wing it. I work better under duress and spontaniously then I do with structure and method. Generally I don’t have to set anything up, though, so it works out.

What inspires your horror?

All sorts of things, but mainly real life. If you think about it, there is nothing scarier then being alive. Everything can kill you, everybody is a potential destructive force. You could be walking down the street one day, and get stabbed in the eye. You wouldn’t know it was coming, either. You could wake up to somebody looming over you, you can pick up a newspaper and read all about the carnage that encompasses the globe. Simply being alive inspires me. Though, Tom Savini plays a huge part in my inspiration. Which is ironic, considering my disgusting fear of zombies. The 13th to 17th century also plays a big role, especially if I am doing anything paranormal related as a shoot. There is nothing freakier then a good ghost story, and that part of our existance is wrought with them.

How has been your experience so far as a horror moderator for Deviant Art?

It’s been amazing. The site is so huge, simply vast, it’s hard to keep up with everybody and everything, no matter how many post it notes or reminders I give myself. I find that it could, and does, suck up a lot of my free time. I’m pretty quiet on the Deviant Art front, though. I’m one of the more silent volunteers, which suits me fine. I interact with everybody who I come across, though, and you’d be surprised at how normal and just like everybody else the darker community there is. I had the pleasure of running a series of interviews on some of the more grotesque artists on the site, and simply put, they’re just human. I like to think that I’ve used some of my volunteer time to bring that kind of thing to light.

How do you think you’ve affected the horror/macabre community on Deviant Art?

I don’t know, honestly. I’d like to think positively. I frequently feature unknown artists, interview everybody from writers to photographers to digital manipulators, hoping to shed some light on them to others, as I stated above. I like to consider myself as a good influence, of sorts. I hope that I have made at least one person open their eyes to the genre, maybe changed a few minds. I haven’t gotten in to any fights that I know of, haven’t been dramatic – I like to think I’ve set that as an example. On a site with that many users, it’s so hard to say just what kind of influence I have had, or will have. I just hope that somebody remembers me when my time is up, because it was one of the best years of my life, volunteering for the site. I hope I made an impression.

You’ve also shown a liking for writing short stories. Is there any literary influences that truly inspired you to write?

Yes, actually. Margaret Atwood. I know that sounds ridiculous, all things considering, but she spins together a lot of short stories in to a wonderfully molded collection that makes it easy to read, fun to follow, and you can empathize with all her characters. I’m not very good at writing ‘one big story’, I tend to have to twist more then one together to create collections quite similar. I can relate to her writing style. What she writes may not be everybodies cup of tea, but it’s simple, elegant and delicately placed on paper. She’s quite influential to me. Then there are people like Brett Easton Ellis, who wrote American Psycho, and Stephan King before he sold out – bigger names, and genre specific writers who clearly have influenced more than just I. I’m also deeply greatful to Clive Barker, not only for his books but his movies as well. Without him, I wouldn’t be in the process of trying to fashion a cenobite out of household oddities.

What is your dream set you would love to create one day? Why?

Either a dungeon or a laboratory. Why? Because I have the perfect basement for it. My house is 30 or 40 years old, stone walls, stone floor – since most of what I shoot is gore related, the fact that they are easily washable and durable just calls out to me. I’d love to be able to fling fake blood on the wall, or attach chains and make a period piece, a dungeon. I’d just adore it. Plus, if I made a laboratory, I could fill Mason jars with eyeballs, faces, scalps, fingers. The possibilities are endless, when you’ve got a stone basement. It’s the creepiest part of my house, even when it’s only real purpose is to store Christmas decorations.

Any advice for you would have for anyone picking up a camera for the first time?

Just do it. Don’t question if you’re doing it correctly or not. And if you want to shoot something, cats, birds, whatever, then do that too. Pictures don’t always come out the way you want them to, or the way you planned it, but you won’t get any better by putting the camera down and giving up.

Anything else you would like to add?

Just a word of advice to aspiring horror/macabre photographers, writers and digital artists:
The more blood you use, the more complaints you’re going to get. The more you’ll be ostrasized – Ignore it. Let it slide off your back. There is always going to be somebody who has been offended by that kind of work. If you get somebody who is offended by yours, you’re doing something right. Art, no matter its form, is a creative expression. It’s generally created to evoke feelings. Disgust and revulsion, those are feelings – and if you can evoke them, then you’re an artist.

Thanks go to Kay Peers for a great day. I hope to work with her again some day. Check out her gallery and literature at http://pullingcandy.deviantart.com/

(All images provided with permission by Kay Peers at http://pullingcandy.deviantart.com/)

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2 Responses to “A Day With Pulling Candy”

  1. Great interview. Kay is indeed an amazing artist and a gorgeous person. 🙂

  2. Awesome interview. I’d love to see what Kay does to her basement someday too. From the images I’ve seen so far, it’s sure to be dramatic and keep the fake blood industry in business for years 😀

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