We had the good fortune of connecting with Hellie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hellie, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
If you told me two years ago that I’d be working with animal remains for a living, in no way would I have believed you. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to be an artist. The only problem was, I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do. I loved to paint, draw, sculpt, use mixed media, and DIY just about anything I possibly could, and sell my work to just about anyone who would buy it. my earliest memories of selling my work and where I’d say my passion for being an artist all truly started was back when I was in elementary school. I would sell my drawings to kids on the playground, post signs around the neighborhood about a “pop up” event I’d be doing, which was just me setting up a table in my driveway and selling my work, and going around door-to-door selling bags I’d make out of old t-shirts. My love for art and entrepreneurial spirt has always been a part of me, even to this day.
Before starting down the artistic path I’m on, I explored many different creative paths. Including, makeup, cosmetology, clothing design, oil and acrylic paints, sculpture, digital art, crochet, resin art and so much more. I was around fifteen when I stopped going to school to completely focus on and pursuit being an artist and starting a business, though I didn’t find my niche until I was eighteen.
I have always been someone who is a little more on the weird side. I’ve always loved bugs, spiders, bones etc. When I was twelve and met my stepdad, I remember begging him to let me have these raccoon skulls he had. Of course, his answer was always no. He passed away January 2020 when I was seventeen and left behind those skulls as an unfinished project. It wasn’t until October 2020 that I decided to finally finish those up in honor of him. Upon doing so, I decided to post them to my art account, without realizing that one post would completely change my life in the best way.
I received many commission requests from friends and acquaintances to purchase framed skulls. The original piece wasn’t the most extravagant piece either, just a skull on a simple black backing in a white ornate frame. This one piece opened up the doors of endless creative opportunities for me and felt so meaningful to be able to take these animal remains and almost give them another life by turning them into something beautiful that’s is able to outlive all of us and be admired and cherished by so many people.
November 16, 2020 is when I officially started HellsOddities. Working with animal remains has been my full time job since and I have loved every second of it. Sometimes I feel as if those unfinished skulls being left behind was my stepdads final way of supporting me and wonder “if he had finished them years ago like he was supposed to, would I still be where I am today?”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I briefly tell people what I do for work, I use the term “Oddities Artist.” Which always sparks an interest because so many people aren’t aware of what that means. There is such a wide range of what falls under the term “oddities” though I specifically work with bones and other animal remains. To me, working with remains is my way of honoring the dead and giving a second life to those who are no longer with us physically. I am a huge animal lover and pride my work in being 100% ethically sourced and that no animals are ever harmed for the sake of any of my pieces. I actively try to spread awarress on the exploitation of certain animals within the oddities hobby to educate others in hopes one day these lives will stop being taken for selfish purposes and profit.
In my first year of owning my business and doing art full time, I already accomplished so much more than I ever thought I would. I have sold to all 50 states, almost all of Canada, Australia, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and the-united kingdom. My work is currently available in one store, and I’m officially able to call myself an artist.
with the start of 2022 just around the corner, there are so many upcoming ventures that I am so excited for. This upcoming year I will be a vendor at oddities and curiosities expo 2022. Working on an exclusive collection to sell out of one of my favorite stores in the Bedford area, and looking into opening up my own storefront in the Denton area. These are only a few things I have planned and cannot wait to see what this next year has in store for me.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had a friend visiting I would definitely take them by some of my favorite stores including curious gardens, curiosities, Horrorfreak and bewitched. I also love to go thrifting and antiquing so I’d definitely take them to do that as well. I am very much a home body and workaholic so I don’t actually go out much leisurely unless I’m going shopping so we’d probably find some cool places to go out to eat at together because chances are, I haven’t been there either!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank my mom for supporting me and sacrificing her dining room and garage to my craziness for a year. Kasey and Fara, owners of bewitched for supporting me and being the first store to carry my products. Tori, manager of mellow mushroom Denton for hosting and letting me be apart of the first market I’ve vended at. Every Witch Way market and Mosaic Market for having me as a vendor monthly. Lastly I’d like to thank everyone who supports me at in person pop ups, my online store and just daily through social media. I would not be where I am today without all of the continued support.