Kody Clark has always loved Halloween, horror and art.
“I’d stuff my costumes full of my clothes and scare the hell out of my parents. I was breaking my toys, changing the limbs and repainting the toys,” Clark, 31, of Monroe said.
Today, he’s a found items artist, and his specialty is Halloween.
Clark will speak and demonstrate his spooky art from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in the cafeteria at Monroe County Community College, 1555 S. Raisinville Road. Admission is free; the public is welcome. The program is sponsored by the Monroe Art League.
“We had a chance to take a tour of his home and workshop,” Eve Weatherholt, president of the league, said. “You can tell he loves what he does. Repurposing and seeing things in a very different light and thinking completely out-of-the-box are second-nature to Kody.”
Clark’s friend, Stelios “Spooky” Stylianou, owner of Spooky Spooky Films, shot video clips from Clark’s house, and they’ll be played at MCCC.
Clark attended Monroe High School and graduated in 2011 from Orchard Center High School. He is the son of Dawn Clark and the late John Clark. A second-shift factory worker at Yanfeng Automotive, he creates Halloween and home décor pieces in his basement and garage at night. His work is inspired by his love of horror movies and books.
“At Halloween time I get into the mood to start making monsters. I made a monster coming out of a shadow box with a mirror inside the box. It looks like a portal,” Clark said.
He also made a demon, skeleton, vampire, gypsy, a walking brain, even a death omen featuring an owl body and a black skull.
“My forte is horror,” Clark said. “Santa and Mrs. Claus, I probably couldn’t do it.”
Clark also creates home décor. Most of his pieces are in his own home.
“I’m just as big on that as I am making props. I like to have stuff you can’t buy. People say my house is their favorite they’ve been in. There are so many things to capture your eyes,” Clark said.
That includes mirrors, gothic pieces, wrought iron, “a couple dead animals in frames, Victorian-style art, abstract artwork, pictures of skeletons and X-rays. I have an X-ray of my own skull,” Clark said. “I make lot of stuff to hang on the walls or put on shelves, like a clock I redesigned. I added crystals and skulls and petrified animal feet.”
His materials are all found or were bought inexpensively.
“I use stuff I already have. If I’m walking my dog and see someone throw something out (I’ll take it). A lot of it comes from the dollar store. I also use random items and anything I see: pool noodles, caulk, liquid latex, PVC, screws,” Clark said. “I try to find art in everyday objects. Some people see a log and know what to carve it into. I’m like that. I can pretty much see art in everything.”
One of his favorite finds is dollar store marbles.
“Marbles for eyes. They are real cheap and effective and have a supernatural look. You can get a bag of marbles in all different colors. I go the cheap route,” Clark said. “I can take cheap Halloween stuff, like a $5 mask, and make it into a $50 mask.”
His most expensive art piece cost about $100 to make. But Clark’s also concerned about making the pieces sturdy and long-lasting. He recently wanted to use a fireplace that needed some support.
“I wanted something coming out of a fireplace upside down. The fireplace is made of metal and made to look like brick. I had to redo it to make it stronger, so I got brackets and some screws. I try to use minimal hardware,” he said.
Clark is a self-trained artist and was first inspired by a papier-mache snail he made in art class. It featured a roll of tape for the shell and a Pringles can.
“It came out really good. That’s when I got really crafty. I always got first place (for school art) in the fair,” Clark said. “I don’t remember getting second in anything.”
Clark gives away some of his work and rents out others. Several were featured in Stylianou’s haunted attractions this year at Our House Games.
Clark’s love of horror goes beyond art. He recently began the podcast “Spooky Tales.” He films it in downtown Monroe.
“It’s strictly paranormal and horror experiences. It’s tied with Brainjerk (Entertainment Co.). Stelios does the filming. We tell stories or experiences or I interview someone. We keep it as raw as possible,” Clark said. “People say Monroe is the most haunted place in Michigan.”
In his free time, Clark also paints houses — inside and out — and he’s played the drum for 15 years. He writes music, poetry and rap lyrics.
“Everything I do is a hobby. I don’t have (much) social media. I don’t have cable or the internet,” Clark said. “I don’t believe in staying bored. There’s always something that can be done.”
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Kody Clark makes spooky props, home decor from found items items