- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - On the northwestern edge of town Friday, Jim Brown sat in his monster-filled garage slowly grooming a work-in-progress - a “Pigman” mask featuring a large head with a pronounced pig nose and tusks jutting out from the muzzle.

Using scissors, the Evansville man trimmed excess latex around the seams of the mask as he talked about his creations.

“I’ve always wanted to make a Pigman,” he said.

By himself in his garage, Brown has molded and painted Halloween masks and props for more than 15 years. What started as a hobby to fill out his Halloween parties has become a side business - Eville J’s Creepy Closet.

While visions from his morbid fantasies, much of his work features hyper-realistic and gruesome details - rotting flesh falling off the bone, exposed teeth sticking out of gums and facial skin stretched and stapled.

Evil clowns, rotting corpses, severed hands, decapitated zombie heads and plaster molds fill Brown’s garage.

This particular grotesque mask was born from the remnants of another, said Brown as he explained his creative process.

“You have to sculpt out of clay, and then you make a big plaster mold from that. With that you can make and paint as many of whatever as you want. The sculpture comes out of the mold in chunks and pieces, so the original sculpture is destroyed.

“When I pulled this one out it was, I think, an old man. The face had broke kind of funny, and it kind of resembled a pig creature. And I thought, ‘Man, I’m going to make a Pigman,’” s Brown, a mechanic at West Side Honda Kawasaki, told the Evansville Courier & Press (https://bit.ly/1FQ4P3W ).

So far this season, he’s shipped props to individuals and haunted houses all across the country. For the first time this year, Brown sold some of his creation’s internationally in Canada and England, where the buyer ordered a zombie Santa Claus.

Where does his love and appreciation for the macabre and twisted come from?

“I always was a Halloween-ish kind of kid growing up,” he said. “I was always the kid in the neighborhood who wanted to paint up their face and go trick or treating.”

In the late 1990s, Brown, who had been making decorations for a Halloween party he and his wife throw every year, asked local Halloween prop entrepreneur Kevin Alvey for some advice in creating his props.

Alvey, who’s Cynthiana-based business Gore Galore has grown to the top prop manufacturers in the country, gave Brown a list of websites and numbers to hone making props and masks out of latex and foam.

Brown kept making his props for his annual Halloween throwdown.

“For the longest time, I was real hush-hush. My friends would come over, and I’d be working on something and they’d be like, ‘Man, this is so weird. What are you doing all this stuff for?’”

People encouraged him to sell his creations. He now sells his products online and has gained popularity through social media.

“You start realizing you’re not the only weird person out there,” he said.

A popular item he creates are “salsa heads,” which are decapitated heads affixed to wood with the “brains” scooped out to hold a bowl of salsa or candy. The idea is to be a table centerpiece for Halloween parties.

“We sell a bunch every year to a point where I can hardly stand to paint it anymore,” he said with a laugh.

Many in the neighborhood have grown used to Brown’s horror-stuffed garage and his Victor Frankenstein-esque creations, but he still gets curious bypassers.

“The neighborhood kids get a big kick out of it,” he said.


Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com

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