Interview with Quite Cntrary

Get ready to clutch your pearls and be amazed by a great lady bit artist! Quite Cntrary (great name!) whole shop amazed me the first time I saw it. I never quite got the whole 'sculpting' thing (just ask my high school art teacher!) and to see so many delicate, yet strong pieces inspires me! Enough about me... lets learn some stuff about Quite Cntrary!
I live near San Jose, CA with the loves of my life- My absolutely lovely partner of eight years, Diego and my darling 13 year old dog, Butchie. We also have a very fat, very disgruntled white cat named Merlin. You asked my favorite color.. Lately I'm really feeling earth tones. My teenage self is cringing somewhere as I say this, haha. It started with the "Organic" trend within the lampwork glass community (My other love is glass work). I just started falling in love with ambers, creams, browns. But I'm also really into Mexican folk art, too. The vibrant colors, all sort of clashing.. but still a very organic vibe about it.

How did you find Etsy? How long have you been selling on Etsy?
I think I first started hearing about Etsy on the lampwork glass forum I frequent. I was still selling on Ebay at the time and was really pretty unhappy there, mostly because Ebay viewed my art as porn, plain and simple. They wanted to shove me into a corner with all the realistic F-dolls. So, Etsy has been a pretty pleasant experience in comparison. They don't mind my kind of art and my customers are now 90% women, which is my intended audience, so that's great! I started selling online in 2002 and on Etsy in Jan. of 2008. Let it be known, I'm the original Cunt Lady, lol.

How would you describe your style? Have any other artists etc influenced your style?
I guess I'd describe my style as realistic fantasy. Is that totally lame? I take pride in creating detailed pieces, but also try to add a sense of whimsy. I'm filled with ideas and I've barely even scratched the surface of all of them. I'm a perfectionist, to a fault, so a lot of stuff never sees the light of day. Influences.. A lot of people say they think I'm influenced by Georgia O'Keeffe. I'm sure that's true, though it was never on a conscious level. Really, I'm influenced by everything I come in contact with, including music. I'm just as influenced by Björk or the Gossip's music as I am by someone like Tim Burton. I'm kind of a craft whore. I make paper, soap, one of a kind Barbie dolls.. the list goes on. I made a Medusa doll once and it inspired me to make my Medusa vulva pendants. My glass work inspires me and carries over into my sculptural designs, as well.

How long have you been creating? What is it about the female form that you love so much?
I've been creating as long as I can remember. When we played the "Name Game" in school, I always dubbed myself "Artistic Annie." I used to tear up my mom's old clothes and make crazy gowns out of them. My father was actually the one who took me down to the bead store when I was about six years old and showed me how to assemble all sorts of jewelry. Even younger than that though, I was always into nature. Big time. I loved playing with insects, climbing trees, exploring tide pools in Half Moon Bay. I was kind of a weird kid that the others didn't understand, which I'm just now starting to see as a blessing.
What do I love so much about the female form? Let me start by saying that what I love about it is sort of intangible to me. I just know I'm drawn toward feminine imagery. The word Feminine is sort of misused, as far as I'm concerned. Most people take it to mean delicate, dainty, weak. I look at it as sort of this otherworldly force, swirling around us all the time. What's interesting to me is how underneath what appears to be delicate, there's a ferocity. But not the same kind of ferocity that's associated with masculinity. A benevolent ferocity. Like, "I could totally fuck you up right now- totally destroy you, but I choose love and nurturing."

Have you had any mentors, or are you self taught?
When I started doing this, there really weren't any other artists I could find that were doing it. I really didn't have anyone to look to. My first sculptures were really very crudely constructed. I cringe now when I think about my "folded tacos" haha. It's been a sort of arduous journey into sculpting because I'm really not all that sculpturally proficient. I can't sculpt faces or bodies very well. It's taken me years to get to a place where I feel truly comfortable and satisfied with my work. Most days, I still pick it apart and find the flaws.

Do you sell more at one time of year than others?
The best time of year for me has been right before and right after Christmas. I hear a lot of people complain that after Christmas, their sales wane. Mine seem to suddenly skyrocket. I get a giggle at the thought of Grandma's Christmas check being spent on vagina art. If Grandma only knew..

What is one thing about your creative process that you think most people don't know?
Well first, the fact that some people are still confused about whether my sculptures are "Life Casts".. meaning they think I've made molds of actual vaginas and am simply casting them in resin. My pieces are all sculpted with my own hands. I do offer "production pieces" in resin, but they are made from molds of my original sculpts. I sometimes use models or references, but the sculpting is my own. It it flattering, though. I mean, I work hard to make my pieces look realistic, but I'd hardly say they're as realistic as a life cast.
The second thing most people don't know is that I'm not some kind of "pervert." There have been people who think it's appropriate to say way too intimate or downright disgusting things to me because they assume I'm down for it. The worst is getting unsolicited explicit photos from men. Yuck.

Do you have a favorite item you have made?
Hmm. I'd say my favorites are the Lost at Sea locket, my Medusas, and my cameo pendants.

What is the best reaction you have gotten from one of your pieces?
One of my favorite reactions was from my mother-in-law. The first time I showed her one of my sculptures, she turned it on its side and said "It looks like a dragon's eye!"
I also love to hear comments from women abut how much it means to them that my art is out there. For every negative comment I get, there are many more positive ones. Just yesterday, I got an Etsy convo from a woman who said, "I just wanted to take a moment to say those are the prettiest creations I have ever seen with a vulva. I have never considered that part of my body "pretty" you have left me with a new concept of my body. Thank you"
That kind of reaction really drives me to keep creating. It feels amazing to know I can have a positive effect on someone's body image.