Spotlight On: Custom Vinylmation Artist Karen Turner

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Today we would like to share the work of Karen Turner. Karen lives in Valrico, FL where she creates custom jewelry and Vinylmation. We recently talked with her about her passion for Disney and creating these works of art.

Destination Vinylmation: Were you into creating artwork before custom Vinylmation?

Karen: Definitely!!  I have painted ceramics for years and years and have always been working on some sort of project or another, even as a kid.  I majored in art in college for awhile, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with an art degree. I then changed my major to History (I was going to be a teacher).  After college I managed my Brother’s insurance office for several years (thereby proving that what your college major is often has nothing to do with what career you will have after college!!)  while toying with the idea of selling my work online.  Finally, a couple of years ago, I worked up enough nerve to open a shop online and create full time.  In my shop I have jewelry, hand crafted boxes, hand painted ceramics, ornaments, and my latest edition to my shop is of course, custom Vinylmation.

Karen’s “All the Colors of the Ocean” necklace

DV: How many customs have you done?

Karen: About a dozen or so.  Right now I have five in my shop, but I first started with making customs for my Niece.  She and I both love Vinylmations, so I painted one for her based on drawings she would make for me when she was younger of a winged heart with a halo (Angel Hearts she called them).  I also painted a tonal gold and silver one and a pink polka dotted one for her. Those got me hooked on painting custom Vinylmations.  When the Jr Raindrops came out, I thought a rainbow would be neat to go with it and a sunshine as well.  So I painted a 3″ rainbow and a Jr sunshine.  When my Dad saw the rainbow one, he said you should sell that and you could name him Roy G Biv for the colors of the rainbow.  So, now I have a line of different Roys – traditional, pastel, and bright.

Roy G Biv 3″

DV: Do you collect Disney’s Vinylmation?

Karen: Oh definitely!!  And I must say, when I discovered your website my Vinylmation addiction grew!!  I love all the updates and in depth analysis you do on the different vinyls.  I have a feeling from the pictures of Vinylmations I have seen from the D23 Expo, my wallet is going to be hurting in the coming months!!

DV: What is your favorite figure?

Karen: Just one?  That’s impossible!! My favorites that I actually own are: It’s a Small World 3″ from Park 3, Squares from Urban 4, Mardi Gras, and  Love 9″ from Urban 6. My favorites from the ones I don’t own (yet) are Magical Stars from Park 1, It’s a Small World 9″ from Park 1, Teacups from Park 1, Birds on a Wire, Red Scream, Railroad from Park 9, Skyway from Park 9, Living with the Land from (a future Park series), and the Gumball Ear hat set.

Urban 4 Squares

DV: What is your personal favorite custom that you have done? Tell us about it, the design and inspiration.

Karen: Well, I love my Roy G Bivs, but I think my absolute favorite customs I have done are Cumulus Mouse and my Autograph Mouse.

Cumulus Mouse 3″

I got the idea for Cumulus Mouse while watching Up – a super favorite movie of mine.  The scene where Carl and Ellie are cloud watching and finding shapes in the clouds gave me the idea for it.  I used a textured paint to build up the clouds and kind of let the clouds take their own shape, except I did put a few hidden Mickey shapes in the clouds (I love hidden Mickeys at the Parks) just for fun.

Autograph Mouse 9″

Autograph Mouse is a 9″ I did for my own collection using the 9″ Glow in the Dark.  I had read about the problems people when having with their vinyls that had been signed by characters smearing.  So I made up a list of all the characters I would want to have an autograph of and Googled them and found images of their autographs.  For the characters that don’t give autographs (Nemo, Dory…) or don’t really make appearances in the park (Jessica Rabbit, Bolt..) I creates a signature that made me think of that character.

Autograph Mouse 9″

I also Googled Walt Disney’s and Roy Disney’s signature and put them on the vinyl – I figured without them there wouldn’t be any of this, so they definitely had to be on it.  I really like how it turned out.  It would have been great to have had the characters sign it, but this way I had no smears, and signatures I couldn’t have gotten any other way.

DV: What have you learned from creating your customs that you can pass onto other custom artists?

Karen: The first few are hard – more like learning experiences.  But once you get a feel for the material it’s gets easier to translate your idea to the figure.  Really, you have to be flexible with vinyls – sometimes their shape works great with a design, sometimes it makes the design really difficult and you may have to tweak your idea some.  So just be open to a little change and have fun!!

DV: What’s next?

Karen: Lots!!  I am working on a Night sky vinyl now that is looking really good.  I’ve got a hidden Mickey in the stars, which I love!!  I am also working on some Christmas themed vinyls – holiday lights, one that looks like an ornament that are turning out really well.  I have some other ideas brewing that I need to take time to get down on paper to see if they will translate to the vinyl well.  And I should get some inspiration soon because I have several trips to WDW planned for the next few months and I always get great ideas there!!

Topiary Mickey 3″

DV: Where can people go to see more of your work, see what you have for sale and contact you? 

Karen: You can see all of my work at my shop www.flightsoffancydesign.etsy.com  and even more photos on my Facebook Fan Page Flights of Fancy Design. I am delighted to take custom orders as well.  My email is [email protected]

DV: Thanks for showing us your work Karen.

Karen: Thanks so much for featuring me in your Spotlight On series – I am so delighted by this!!  I am glad you had such a great time at Disneyland – I have been trying to get everyone on board with making a trip out there in the next few years so both my nieces can see Disneyland. I included some other pictures of some of the Vinylmations discussed in the questions for you.  Let me know if there is anything else you need.  Thanks!!

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About the author

Nick LoCicero

Nick LoCicero has almost 20 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on numerous Disney related media projects, most know at WDWNT for WDW News Tonight. He has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1982. After moving to Orlando in the late 90's he became a passholder, developed a fascination with the history of the vacation kingdom and has spent way too much money on park merchandise.

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