Klopp Studio (Doll Artist)

Klopp Studio: An Interview with Debra Klopp Kersey

On exploring the dark side,
interpreting the fine line between reality
and one’s own perceptions, and on producing art
still deemed too ‘unconventional’ for present society.

This is not the first time I published a post on Debra’s cute and creepy dolls. If you are looking for that post, I’ve since deleted it from the site since it desperately needed an update. That post was created in 2014 - that is how long I have been a fan of Debra’s artwork. In fact, I own three of her dolls which I bought as Christmas presents for our kids years ago. A present my husband Randy dubs ‘A Homer Simpson’ present since I ended up taking the three dolls as my own for awhile. Kiarra has since taken them over. They now sit peacefully in Kiarra’s room away from her brothers and my prying hands.

It is difficult not to fall in love with Debra’s artwork. Friends and family who have seen the three dolls we own have inquired where they can get them. Not too frightening, not sickeningly over-the-top cute...they are perfect for adults and kids who want stuffies with a bite. On top of that, they are also very affordable which is extremely rare in the world of art collecting. It’s true that I admire tons of artists who produce morbid artwork but most produce artwork beyond my means. Debra’s artwork is financially attainable without sacrificing the quality and sincerity of her work.

Three years later and finally, I had the opportunity to learn more about the artist whose fantastic creations ensure I don’t have to sell my soul to keep my art-collector self happy.

Are you a fan of Debra's work? Join our Circus. We've been waiting for you.

What is the most challenging part about creating your artwork?

Keeping it original and unique. I try not to make anything twice so I always strive to do new things. That makes it hard when you really like an item and want to keep it cause you know you will never see it again. I have finally learned to create in a way that I can recreate a character but maybe just change a few things so it will always be one of a kind.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I think people would be surprised to learn that I am extremely normal and I am a Registered nurse in the real world. I have had people tell me a lot that I don't look like I create my dolls.

Can you tell me a bit more about the artistic process you follow when creating your Klopp Kids?

I think I am rather Bipolar in my art. I have so many mediums that I love and I have two very distinct styles. I have the dark side that I usually do in the clay and then I have the whimsical macabre if the soft doll. I know those two words don't necessarily go together but it works for me.

We all walk a fine line between the real and the perceived. I always tell my husband the only perception that matters is mine and this is true for everyone because it is the only one we see.
Favourite or most inspirational place where you live?

The most inspirational place near my home is probably the woods at Cumberland Falls State Park which is just a few miles from my home. I can wonder around in the woods and look for skulls, decayed trees, driftwood and on occasion a fossil or two.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

If you are going to do it, focus all your energy on it. I finally left my job to do my art full time. It has really given me time to explore new ideas and think about where I want my art to go. It is hard working a job and scrounging out a few minutes here and there to work. You have more freedom to create if you have time to make mistakes and learn to appreciate them.

When you think of the concept of 'the artist's ego', what comes to mind?

Fragility..........we may seem aloof or snobbish but we are really a million miles away and planning our next project. My mind never stops, I am working on something in my head 24hrs a day, that truly is my happy place.

Most challenging part about being an artist?

I think the most challenging part of being an artist is learning to love what you create. I see other people’s work and I think how wonderful it would be to make what they make. I am never sure if anyone will like what I make, I think we all struggle with that inner doubt..

Why do you think there is a growing interest in macabre art?

I am not sure if the interest is growing, I just think it is much more accessible now. I have always been drawn to it but you could only find it at auctions and strange people houses before Ebay and Etsy. Now you can purchase that one of a kind skull for your own collection. How cool is that? I have my own oddities collection now and I can add to it regularly without killing anything.

Any future plans you intend to pursue with your artwork?

I want to do more with assemblage and diorama. I love setting the scene and filling in all the questions that a person has when they view a piece of art for the first time. With a Diorama you can set the scene out to tell the whole story.

This is sort of just a fun question for readers to get to know you better :) What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of zombies?

Green and cute, I like the smiling kind that eat gummy brains and drink lots of cherry soda.

What would you do differently if you knew that no one was judging or watching you?

I would be a little more risqué with my work probably but in today’s society you have to be careful what you can show in public and take to shows. You have certain shows that don't want anything even if it is just a devil or witch. I was refused a show because I do a lot of Halloween work, go figure.

What terrifies you the most?

Driving, I don't drive, never could bring myself to do it. I have been known to walk two miles to work in my younger days to keep from learning. I think some things are for other people, LOL

As an artist, what are your thoughts on scientific studies which purport that there is a fine line between insanity and creativity?

I can answer this question easily. I have never met a sane person!! We all walk a fine line between the real and the perceived. I always tell my husband the only perception that matters is mine and this is true for everyone because it is the only one we see. I think normal people would be too boring for me to waste my time on anyway.

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