Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Interview with Melissa Stagi-Zepeda: Artist and Crafts-woman extraordinaire

 I met Melissa on Facebook. I loved her creepy artwork so I asked her if she'd like to do an interview. She said yes. 

Her style is freaky, fearsome, and funny! She takes the everyday things, like returning a library book, and turns them into the spine-chilling monster world that only, until now, lives in a child's mind. 

I can see a bright future for her in children's picture books. Can't you? Think halloween and beyond! 

Below are the questions I asked her:

1.     You are a lover of Creepy. Why are you drawn to the darker side of art?

I didn't know that artists were out there doing this kind of art - and I really didn't start going into the creepy direction until Tim Burton came out and I was like - whoa...this is so ME!

I started seeing more and more dark art come out and now there seems to be a flood of's amazing.
2.     You sell art on Etsy. How hard or easy was it to start that business?

I've got to give props to my sister on this one. She started the Etsy side of the business and so far it's been working out great.

3.     What one word of advice would you give to a newbie illustrator/artist?

You just never know where your inspiration is going to come from.

Keep drawing, painting, whatever your craft is, everyday. Even if it's just looking at art. 

4.     Describe your artwork in 5 words.

Creepy. Cute. Funny. Interesting. Nostalgic.

5.     Who or what is your inspiration?

I have so many. My early influences were Stephen King, Mad Magazine and the art books my father 
had that included Frank Frazetta and Norman Rockwell. I wanted to be Normal Rockwell and do these great 
paintings. I just kept working at it for years, doing pencil portraits, regular cartoons and well, I was bored

It's fun to do something like this, but I didn't feel creatively challenged like I do now with the creepy slant to it.

6.     Have you ever thought about illustrating children's books?

I would love to! I work on my own book, but for some reason, it never works out. The universe keeps 
throwing other stuff at me. I just go with it.
7. How would someone submit a photo for you to change into a creepy scene?

You can just email me the photo, but most of the time folks don't have just one picture to work off of. 

I do it from several, listen to what the client wants/desires and I draw a pencil of it first, send it for approval 
and then get painting! 

8. Why draw? Why art? 

I honestly don't know. I just have a talent for it. I was always drawing on my walls, paper, doodling ever
since I could hold a pencil. 

9. What other hobbies do you have outside of your art?

I am a big reader. I read everything I can get my hands on. I also cook a lot. 

But I have a lot of kids, that kind of comes with the territory.

10. Do you and your sister ever argue over the business? Who usually wins?

No, we don't. We are so on the same page about everything we do. We are the only ones that understand 
each other in this respect. Our families laugh at us when we talk 'Art/Dolls.'

11. How long have you been working to create your artistic voice?


12. When and how did you realize that you had a specific niche?

I just kept working at it. And listening my gut - that is the biggest thing that took me a long time to realize. 

If you don't listen to that inner voice - you'll never try stuff. If you aren't a little scared, it's not worth doing.

13. Who is your biggest cheerleader?

My sister, my husband and my parents. 

14. How can my blog readers help you to become an even bigger success?

Spread the creepy word - feel free to post it on your Facebooks, Pinterests, etc....

15.  Do you belong to any art associations or critique groups? Why or why not?

I belong to Under the Juniper Tree. I usually use my family for critiques. They know me so well and are 
just a tad creepy themselves. 

16. Which one is your favorite piece in your collection?

Car Shopping.

17. What books are you reading right now?

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore - this is the 6 or 7th time I've read it.

18. What's the funniest thing someone has said about your artwork?

There's something wrong with you...can  I have one?

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