This week’s post is a little different from what I have usually done on my blog, but it’s a welcome one and it gives me an opportunity to exercise those journalism muscles I haven’t used since my college days. Meet Chris and Jane of chrisandjanesplace.etsy.com, creators of the Zombie Gnomes. They take your average garden variety gnome and give it the zombie treatment. Their product has been featured on Geek and Sundry, Cnet, and The Huffington Post to name a few. Chris and Jane were kind enough to take time out from crafting these oddly cute and horrific gnomes to talk about how Zombie Gnomes came to be as well as discuss their weapon of choice in a zombie apocalypse…among other things. Visit their website if you’re interested in purchasing any of the items pictured here, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.
Question: The two of you take something as common as the garden gnome you find in your backyard and give it the zombie treatment. Who came up with the idea for Zombie Gnomes?
Answer: Chris was the one that first came up with the concept. He was driving down the freeway in California where we live, and wondered if a hypothetical zombie virus could jump to fantasy creatures like gnomes. I said, ‘YES. That is awesome! You have to make that!’ So we made one for laughs and out of curiosity we put it up on Etsy to see if others might like it too.
Q: On your website it says you handcraft all your Zombie Gnomes. How long does it typically take to make one?
A: It really depends on how big they are and how many colors they have, but it can range between 1-3 hours, not including waiting time.
Q: What’s your best-selling Zombie Gnome?
A: Bye Bye Birdie.
Q: Do you have a particular favorite Zombie Gnome out of all the ones you’ve made?
Chris: It’s a tight race between Gertrude Guts and Doomsday Dan. I really like the sculpture and the paint job for Gertrude Guts and for Doomsday. I feel he is the first gnome in the collection that they see. He sets the tone of the Zombie Gnome Apocalypse.
Jane: I love The Zombie Slayers. First of all, Chris did a wonderful job sculpting it and second of all, I just love that it is a kick ass couple taking down a zombie with a spork.
Q: Where do you get the inspiration to create your product?
A: We get a lot of our inspiration from zombie pop culture, but also gnome folklore. We get various ideas from just going outside and exploring.
Q: You display on your site an outbreak map of where these undead gnomes are invading. Where in the world do you hope the Zombie Gnomes will invade next?
A: Either the Vatican or at the White House. We do have a Zombie Gnome in an embassy, but the White House would be pretty funny.
Q: Are there any artists/geeks you look up to? Who are they and why?
Jane: Hayao Miyazaki, the director of such films as Spirited Away and Totoro, has always been a favorite of mine. His ability to design his stories and characters through his art has always been an inspiration to me. He designs his characters to specifically represent an idea or expression, which resonates well with audiences all around the world.
Chris: I really like Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. They did Shaun of the Dead together which is one of my favorite movies. I enjoy that they can turn serious situations and make them humorous.
Q: Zombies seem to be everywhere! They have invaded our TV/movie screens, video games, and books. What is it about zombies that you think makes them so appealing in pop culture?
Chris: I believe it shows how our society is afraid of death. Zombies themselves are dead things that are coming for you or in other words, “Death is coming for you.” It shows life in its basic form: survival.
Jane: The zombie epidemic theory actually makes me think of a film by Alfred Hitchcock called, Shadow of a Doubt. In this story, a young girl’s favorite uncle comes to visit her and her family in a very quite small town in Southern California. This favorite uncle is not what he seems to be. He is in fact a serial killer. In the same way, anyone can be a zombie. No one is safe, not your best friend or that creepy guy at school you don’t like. In a world post-9/11, it seems like a prevalent theme in film and TV. The end is coming, can you really trust anyone? Paranoia is not something I enjoy personally, so that is why we try to make our Zombie Gnomes humorous.
Q: What are your favorite TV shows, movies, or books about zombies?
A: Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, Zombieland, Walking Dead (TV and comic book) and Marvel Zombie series.
Q: The zombie apocalypse is upon us. What’s your weapon of choice to fight off the zombies and why?
Chris: Crowbar because it’s a heavy, blunt weapon to crack skulls with and it’s also a tool.
Jane: Shingles axe. It has a nice sharp blade and on the other side is a hammer head. So it’s good for killing zombies, but is also a good tool to use in general.
Special thanks to Chris and Jane for participating in this interview! If doing the occasional geeky interviews is something you’d like to see more of on the blog, please drop me a line and let me know.