Monday, March 11, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Ugly Shyla: Dark Beauty with a Message

"Mother of Sorrows", my ultimate favourite piece so far!

I met Ugly Shyla over the internet some years ago through mySpace. I had seen her pictures of her & her work featured in photos in a Gallery Showing by Artist John Santerineross at Stormy Leather Store in the Soma District of San Francisco when I was Art Gallery Curator and he had a showing. Being a model myself that didn’t fit the modeling mold, it was exciting to see other people who also looked “outside the norm” being photographed and a new movement of Alternative models was born in the late 90’s early ‘00’s. What attracted me to her was that she, like me started modeling to bring attention to her Art, much as I was doing with my music. When I found out more about her inspirations and what she was expressing, I felt a kindred spirit in her. We were both not afraid to be characters of ourselves, or “ugly”. That being said this Cajun girl from the swamps is one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out.
real blood tears

A long time ago I had this Misfits Doll from Jem and the Holograms that had long blue hair that I put Barbie hair straightener in. When I met Shyla it was like that Doll came to life, a Doll Maker whose art addresses the things about children that need attention, such as child abuse and mortality. It is often through these people that I see the Justice of the Universe working. Often the people you would be afraid of because of their looks are actually doing Sacred work. They are calling attention to things we should be preventing.
Ugly Shyla Plushy commissioned by fan

A champion of the welfare of children, her art calls attention to their mistreatment.

Our work continues often through our progeny and Shyla is no exception, although her protégé is a most unique student/child that is because she is a handicapped Squirrel rescued from her other pet cats mouth. Wink the squirrel, inherited the big heart of her human mommy and has grown quite famous of her own accord by donating proceeds from her art work to help other animals in need. 

Personally, they both came to my aid when my own progeny, my daughter, had to undergo rounds of testing for a birth defect of which the costs cut into our ability to pay rent. Through the kindness of Shyla, Wink and my Musician community lead by Wire Graffiti’s Katherine Sawyer and Castles In Spain’s Biachi , their networking through the internet and call outs to friends, we were able to survive the ordeal and have peace of mind while undergoing the testing knowing we would not lose our home. My heart is forever grateful.
Often replicated, Ugly Shyla was one of the innovators of techniques of doll work that some find totally terrifying & fascinating.

All of them Witches!

Ugly Shyla

How would you describe what you do?
 I make morbid fine art dolls and also dabble in other artistic mediums from jewelry to tattoos.

How do you receive your inspirations?
Usually from my dreams and sometimes I get sort of flashes of visions in my head.

When did you first notice your connection to the Spirit World?
I'm from southern Louisiana so there is really nothing for us to "notice", because you grow up with it ingrained in your culture. I saw, hear, and felt spirits constantly as a child. I had to learn how to block some of it out because it was so overwhelming. Thankfully as I got older I got it more under control.

If you feel comfortable, can you share your faith or path with us?
I'm a voodoo practitioner I also mix Santeria in my practices.

How does this faith/path express itself through your art?
I think all of my art is related to my faith even if I don't realize it. And some of it is obviously voodoo related like the doll I did of The Baron.

How can you be contacted about your work from interested collectors?
(Website or contact info)
My email is

Anything  you would like to add that perhaps I forgot?
You KNOW I'm going to have to talk about the squirrel. LOL.
I have a little gift the Gods gave me. I rescued a little squirrel from a cat's mouth. They say sometimes the God's send you a animal to see how you treat it and will bless you if you right by the little animal. So I must have done something right because my squirrel Winkelhimer Smith taught herself to paint and became famous for it, she was all over the all the major news stations ect. We auction her art off and give the profits to animals or people in need. Her website is

This is but a small sampling of her work! 

Modeling one of her porcelain doll heads necklaces featured in my music video called "The Doll Dance" by The Wazzoo Sound. On the inside is inscribed: "Undertaker, Please Drive Slow"