Now that the new year is here, and the holidays are long gone, it’s time to start sharing some of my favorite things every Friday again, for Fangirl Friday. Today i’m sharing an interview i had with an incredibly unique artist, Ronnie Hanson of MonsterhedZ. Earlier this year i saw that Ronnie was doing conventions and selling monster heads. It’s exactly what it sounds like. He sculpts and fashions heads to mount that represent fantasy and mythical monsters. After viewing his gallery, i decided to commission a Dragon head to hang next to the family Excalibur sword in our house surrounded by Tolkien esq decor. Although we claim our house to be House Tolkien, it’s really just an umbrella to hang all things dealing with orcs, dragons, elves, swords, yada yada… you get the idea.
Please check out the interview below that I had with Ronnie when submitting my request for a personalized Dragon head. - Taffeta
TD: What’s the name of your business and how’d you get into this business?
RH: The name of my business is MonsterhedZ. These sculptures are things that I wanted to see, but couldn't find. After a little research, and a lot of trial and error, I found a way to make them that wasn't crazy expensive. For fun, I listed the first piece on eBay and it sold right away. Right around that time, a friend told me of a first year Fantasy and Sci-Fi Convention, so I bought an inexpensive booth. In researching names for a website, I wanted the company name to be some version of "Monster Heads", but most of these were taken. One available that I liked was "monsterhedz.com".
The online sales kept me actively sculpting and after that first convention, I fell in love with the culture surrounding
TD: Why do you do what you do, why monster heads?
RH: Along with monsters and fantasy, taxidermy and natural history museums have always been a fascination for me. These sculptures are physical representations of things we would see if we could somehow walk into our favorite fantasy books. There would likely be museums, showing different orc species; and that dragon that attacked the town last week? He's stuffed over the mantle in the great castle.
TD: How long does it take for you to complete a project?
RH: It depends on the nature of the project. If it's a new, specific piece for advertising or a movie, it can take a couple of months sometimes, depending on the size. After getting the client's approval on the basic design, the initial sculpt is finished, then molded and cast. If it's a piece I've already fabricated molds for, the process is much faster. A dragon head can be fabricated in about 10 hours, excluding drying times.
TD: What’s your background? Did you go to school for or are you self taught?
RH: Both. In High School I was lucky enough to have a great art teacher who taught a solid foundation of fundamentals. In college, I took every art class available. I use the things that I learned then almost every day in sculpting. That being said, there never was a step-by-step class for making these things. The sculptures you see now are the result of a few years of trial, error, yelling, fires, small explosions...
TD: What monster heads do you enjoy building most?
RH: Right now I enjoy making dragon heads the most. There's a part of the fabrication that becomes almost meditative, and you get lost in process. The sculpture starts to define itself and I'm just along for the ride. Because they were my first, orc heads will always have a squishy place in my heart, though.
TD: What’s your scariest or most anxiety induced project you’ve worked on?
RH: I’ve never really been scared or anxious while working on a project. The anxiety and fear would come, in the past, right before an art show or convention. At the first con that I had an artist's booth, I was extremely anxious setting up. I had arrived late and all the other artists and vendors were already set up. It was in a small room and I had to walk past all of them carrying my sculptures. It was very intimidating, and I thought, "What am I doing here, my stuff isn't good enough for this show." That went away, though, as I entered more shows and people began buying my stuff.
TD: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
RH: Do what you love, and the money will follow.
TD: What is your dream project?
RH: I’d love to do a full body dragon using the same process as I do for the dragon heads.
TD: Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
RH: Growing up, I idolized Larry Elmore and Jeff Easley for their work on Dungeons and Dragons. It was one of the big thrills of my life to meet them at different Cons. Though their work is mostly two dimensional, if I were ever compared to them, I would consider it a great honor. Tom Kuebler is a contemporary sculptor working with similar subject matter. I love his stuff. It would be a high honor to be compared to him as well.
TD: Professionally, what’s your goal?
RH: Right now, MonsterhedZ has been to conventions mostly in the Rocky Mountain area. We'll soon expand to more cons and art shows on a national level. Artistically, my goal is to keep improving on what I'm doing now. Ultimately, that's the sweet addiction to art and the creative process in general. Each time you make a thing, it gets a little more refined than the last one you did. Everytime I've stood in front of a finished piece and thought, "Wow,that's really cool." a sweet seduction whispers, "Imagine what the next one will be like."
I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I have. This is such a neat craft. I hope to order more Dragons and maybe a Unicorn from Ronnie, soon. Don't forget to check out his website at monsterhedz.com. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/xMonsterHeadz. MLnR- Taffeta
This is the custom DRAGON head I commissioned. RAD!