Interview with Kreepy Dolls Maker, Daniel Baxter

Talented artist Daniel Baxter of the Kreepy Dolls Factory will be showing our campers how to create unique dolls from their imagination in our weeklong summer camp at The Artsmiths in partnership with the Society of Contemporary Craft the week of July 17th through July 21st .  

Daniel Baxter was born in 1980 and is a 2003 graduate of Cleveland Institute of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing. Daniel found an abandoned Kreepy Doll Factory to tend to, and began bringing one of a kind magic dolls to life. Later while exploring the wilderness in NYC Baxter and friends created the TV show "Food Party" for IFC. Since returning to Pittsburgh in 2010 the Kreepy Doll Factory has created toys 24 hours a day.  Baxter hopes to create "greater things than imaginable" in the future...  Learn more about Daniel in our interview with him below:

Who had the biggest influence in your career and artistic development?

I let everything influence my art. I am always searching and just looking. 

Animated promo for one of a kind kreepy dolls and soft sculpture designed and made by artist[s Jeff Vincent and] Dan Baxter of kreepydollfactory.com.  Video by Rubytoad Studio.  Music by Paul Kozlowski.

What do you do to recharge if you have a creative block, where do you find inspiration?

I love making toys and making toys for people, and so like the elves who work for Santa I never get tired. When I want to take a break I just draw or run around and eat good food. 

When did you create your first piece of artwork? Was it sold or is it a piece that you decided to hold onto?

There's no way to remember that. But if it becomes possible in the future I'd love to time travel back and see.

Are there other Pittsburgh artists that you have collaborated with or that have mentored you?

I always enjoy talking to every person I meet, and everyone becomes an influence when i'm making toys. 

What are some other ways that you creatively express yourself, apart from your art?

I answer lists of questions. 

Do you have any unusual skills or talents outside of art?

Race car driving, in Mario Cart. 

How did Kreepy Dolls evolve?

Kreepy Dolls get better with every second you work on them, and every stitch of string brings them more to life until they start saying "stop poking me!" Every person in the world is unique and so is every kreepy doll I make for them. It's a very natural free flow.

What are some of the materials that you use most often to create Kreepy Dolls?

I use recycled fabrics, whatever the universe provides becomes a Kreepy Doll, and happiness for somebody who finds what has been made for them. 

What is your favorite part about teaching?

To pass on the "art spirit" like my teachers did. 

Explore the process of designing from your imagination with drawings and develop your vision into a 3-D figure. Then through sewing magic, creative needling, string theory, and pattern making we will bring our drawing to life as Kreepy Dolls. Click the button below to learn more or register for the Kreepy Dolls Summer Camp at The Artsmiths presented by the Society of Contemporary Craft:

Interview with Eileen Viloria

Many of you will recognize this smiling face from The Artsmiths Shop.  Eileen Viloria joined our staff when we launched The Artsmiths.  As our Assistant Shop Manager and Inventory Control Manager, Eileen's vast arts knowledge and experience, attention to detail, and creativity has proven to be invaluable. 

Eileen received her BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing along with her K-12 PA teaching certification from Edinboro University of PA in 2008. As an Artist Educator at The Andy Warhol Museum, Eileen helps facilitate tours and workshops related to Warhol's life and art making processes. Eileen’s enthusiasm to create connections and partnerships with schools and other community arts organizations has led to a wide range of teaching experiences throughout the region and abroad.  Although, teaching plays a large role in Eileen’s life and career, she feels that it is crucial to always be learning and growing.   Eileen continues to explore her own creativity with her favorite art medium, metal, and has her own sterling silver jewelry line.

Eileen will be teaching Screen Printing "Stars of the Silver Screen" with The Warhol Museum, a weeklong Summer Camp for youth ages 14 to 17 at The Artsmiths this coming Monday, July 10th through Friday, July 14th from 9am to 3:30pm.  Learn more about this Summer Camp instructor in our interview below:

Who had the biggest influence in your career and artistic development?

Definitely my Mom. When I was in college, I would call my Mom when I would pull all-nighters in the studio (she worked the overnight shift as a nurse, so she was always up). She was always genuinely interested in what I was making and made sure that I kept going. She’s also a skilled crafter herself. My grandmother was a seamstress and my mom would help her make dresses. She would make anything from my Halloween costumes to school uniforms. I feel like I get my attention to detail and craftsmanship from her.

What do you do to recharge if you have a creative block, where do you find inspiration?

Never stop learning. I like to take workshops with other artists and learn a new skill. It always helps to jumpstart my enthusiasm to create. Visiting the museums also helps. I like to go alone and have that time to myself to really look at things. Just being in a creative space does wonders.

When did you create your first piece of artwork? Was it sold or is it a piece that you decided to hold onto?

My main focus was jewelry and metalsmithing in college. I sold one of the first pendants I made to my cooperating teacher during student teaching. When it comes to screenprinting, I usually just give pieces I’ve made as gifts.

Are there other Pittsburgh artists that you have collaborated with or that have mentored you?

Aileen Lampman – Ai Jewelry.  I worked as her studio assistant for about 4-5 years. She taught me so much about running your own business and the skills needed for producing a jewelry line.

Tresa Varner – Former Curator of Education for The Warhol – Printmaker. Tresa played a vital role in teaching me the importance of finding the balance between being an educator and also being an artist. I learned about silkscreen printing by working as an educator at The Andy Warhol Museum.

What are some other ways that you creatively express yourself, apart from your art?

I love to cook and bake. When I can’t sleep, I watch videos about cake and cookie decorating. I would love to take classes to learn.

Do you have any unusual skills or talents outside of art?

My husband always tells me that I need to get involved with community theater. I was involved in musical theater when I was younger and still enjoy going to shows. I miss singing sometimes. Anyone looking for an amateur alto?

What is unique about working at The Warhol?

People from all over the world come to Pittsburgh just to visit the museum. I love to talk with visitors and hear their stories. It’s different every day.

What is your favorite thing about or piece of work by Warhol?

I love Warhol’s early commercial work before he got in to silkscreen printing.  He was a commercial illustrator in the 1950s.  He did pen and ink drawings with bright watercolors and sometimes gold leaf.  They have a whimsical feeling to them that I am drawn to.

What is your favorite part about teaching?    

I’m always amazed at the creativity of my students.  I show them how to do something one way and they take it to a whole new level.  That’s the fun thing about art.   Everyone can have a different reaction or interpretation.

To learn more about, or register for, Screen Printing "Stars of the Silver Screen" with The Warhol Museum click the button below: