Skinning a Demon: Interview with Melita Curphy |

Skinning a Demon: Interview with Melita Curphy

Melita Curphy, also known as Miss Monster or @missmonstermel, is a painter, leatherworker, and artisan. Her work carries strong mythological/fairy-tale tones, from her Krampus Christmas Cards to tentacle and Cthulhus designs to werewolf shirts and patches to demon masks to her Medusa logo. Recently, she finished one of her largest and most-impressive creations yet, a “demon skin” rug. (Pictured above.)

A close-up of the demon skull in progress:

Demon skin rug by Melita Curphy

And a close up of detailed airbrushing on the fur, which started as a solid gray:

Demon skin rug by Melita Curphy

I asked Melita a few questions about her work and inspirations.

Did you read fairy tales or mythology growing up? If so, which were your favorite stories? If not, when did you start exploring them?

I was a huge mythology fan as a kid. One of my most treasured books was one about Norse mythology, D’ Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths. It’s got these great stylized illustrations that I’d study and try to draw. I still have it, too. I grew up with Greek myth and Grimm’s fairy tales…later on I got into Japanese folklore which had a significant impact on my work.

Which culture’s lore do you find most influential or most fun to explore through art?

Its hard to decide, so many cultures have these wonderful folkloric figures and stories. I’d have to say Japanese folklore has the coolest monsters though.

Demon skin rug by Melita Curphy

I love the demon rug. How many hours did you put into it? Do you plan to keep making them or will you move on to something else?

Thank you, so glad you like him! I’m not sure of the hour count, I’m terrible at estimating the time I put into pieces. I’d say I put more time into the rug than I have on anything else I have made save for the costumes I have built for myself. Everything on him is hand done… sculpting, painting, cutting the pattern, and airbrushing all that fur. I still have to sew the bottom lining and even that’s going to take forever!

It felt really good to focus so much effort on a personal project though. So much of my time is spent making art for others or making things that need to appeal to others because I have bills to pay. Allowing myself to indulge some serious time and love into something that just mattered to me was really wonderful. I need to do it more often. I have plans to make more rugs!

What do you think is your most popular design? Which design do you wish were more popular?

The Deep Creature tentacle cluster I drew for a shirt design on Design By Humans is by far my most popular. I have used it for bandanas, shirt, sweatshirts, journal covers, phone cases…a lot of people really dig it and im very grateful for that.

As far as a design that I wish were more popular…I wish my Aztec Medusa design had taken off a bit more. I really liked it! People like her okay but overall the reaction was lukewarm compared to other designs. No big deal though. The funny (and occasionally frustrating) thing about doing this for a living is that you can never EVER predict what is going to take off and what is going to fizzle. It’s such a subjective thing and people are very unpredictable.

While there are more fairy-tale rugs in her future, Melita is currently working on a Krampus doll.

Krampus doll by Melita Curphy

RuthX is a mild-mannered librarian by day who serves the dread lord Cthulhu after dark and tries not to scare children and small animals when she goes out with her Miss Monster Cthulhu shirt and bag.


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