Meet Rochelle Yoder of Luna Kustoms, the imaginative artisan behind a world where monsters and hot rod culture collide with captivating flair.

Hailing from the heart of Kansas, Luna’s artistic journey was sparked by a YouTube video and fueled by her lifelong admiration for legends like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. With deft hands and a vivid imagination, Yoder breathes life into her clay sculptures, infusing them with a unique blend of lowbrow art and gnarly aesthetics.

From whimsical coffee mug monsters to intricate wall art, each creation tells a story of creativity unleashed.

Interview by Jeff Najar

Interviewer: How did you get started as a 3D artist?

Luna Kustoms: Well, actually, it all started when I was watching a YouTube video by a clay artist called Ace of Clay. I had this idea of putting a Rat Fink face on a coffee mug and thought it would look cool. So, I started experimenting with clay, moving from mugs to sculptures and 3D wall art.

When I crafted my very first mug, I was like, “Eh, this isn’t anything special.” But guess what? People went bananas over them! They fell head over heels for my quirky creations! With all that love and encouragement, I thought, “Why not keep the monster mug party going?” And oh boy, has it been a blast! Who knew turning coffee cups into creatures could be this much fun? It’s like a wild ride of clay and coffee, and I’m loving every minute!

Monster Coffee Cup

Monster Coffee Cup

Artistic Style and Inspirations:

Interviewer: Your style has elements of hot rod culture and lowbrow art. How would you describe your monster art?

 Luna Kustoms: Alright, buckle up: I like to call my style “Lowbrow and gnarly,” taking cues from the rad worlds of skating, hot rod culture, and the legendary Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Picture this: skateboards, souped-up cars, and monsters all hanging out together at a wild party. That’s the vibe I’m going for! When I’m sculpting my monsters, I’m basically throwing all these influences into a blender and hitting the turbo button.

Interviewer: You made a monster out of a 64oz BIG FRIG Growler. How did that come together?

Luna Kustoms: Oh, absolutely! It’s a wild ride of creating that monster design for the 64oz BIG FRIG growler! First off, green is my jam, so I knew it had to be front and center in the design.

But hey, I wasn’t just going for looks—I had to make sure this monster was as practical as it was eye-catching. I mean, nobody wants a wonky growler that topples over, right? So, I carefully balanced the size and weight of the growler with the monster’s features, making sure it wouldn’t tip the scales (literally!).

And let’s talk about that tongue—oh yeah, I made sure it was long enough to bring the goofy factor without getting tangled up in the drink. Now, as for the construction part, well, that’s where things got really interesting. I had to whip out the epoxy and do a little DIY magic on my equipment to make sure everything fit juuust right. It was like being a mad scientist in the lab, but instead of potions, I was mixing up clay and creativity!

And let me tell you, the end result? A one-of-a-kind masterpiece that’s not only a feast for the eyes but also tough as nails. Who says art can’t be practical, right?

Working on the 64 oz Growler for the Flying Piston Benefit was such a blast! It’s all about combining my love for creating monsters with supporting a great cause.

64oz Big Frig Growler

64oz Big Frig Growler

Music Enhances the Creativity:

Interviewer: How does music influence your artistic process?

Luna Kustoms: Oh, music is like the secret sauce of my creative recipe! It’s not just background noise; it’s the key ingredient that sets the vibe for my artistic adventures. Whether I’m sculpting monsters or painting masterpieces, you can bet there’s a killer soundtrack blasting to keep me in the zone and unleash my inner artist!

Interviewer: Do you listen to different music depending on what you’re working with?

Luna Kustoms: Absolutely! When I’m sculpting with clay, I enjoy more relaxed reggae tunes, while I prefer energetic rock music when I’m painting. Some of my favorite bands include Dirty Heads and Bob Marley for clay sculpting, and bands like Rob Zombie and My Chemical Romance for painting sessions. The music really helps shape the style and mood of my artwork.

Influence of Monster Culture:

Interviewer: You mentioned being inspired by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and his character Rat Fink. Can you elaborate on your fascination with the rat?

Luna Kustoms: Rat Fink is my all-time favorite character of Ed Roth’s, and I’ve always admired that style of artwork. He set the path for us artists to inspire us to continue on this art form and truly blessed that he brought like rat Fink into the world.

Exploring Different Monster Genres:

Interviewer: Aside from Rat Fink and Frankenstein, are there other monster genres or styles that interest you?

Luna Kustoms: I’m drawn to horror art and styles like Tim Burton’s. While I haven’t delved into it much yet, I find the designs in films like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” intriguing and challenging, especially when translated into clay.

Diverse Artistic Endeavors:

Interviewer: Besides clay sculpting, do you engage in other artistic ventures?

Luna: Yes, I occasionally do pinstriping and have dabbled in painting on different surfaces, like skateboards and canvases. Currently, clay sculpting and canvas painting are my main focuses.

Art as a Livelihood:

Interviewer: Were you surprised by the success of your artwork in supporting you financially?

Luna Kustoms: Definitely. I was shocked. I remember growing up that my love was art. I was constantly told that, you know, that’s a waste to go to school because you’re not going to do anything and so I didn’t even go to college because I liked nothing else. I didn’t want to do anything else. And it’s not true. There are tons of artists that make a good living off of doing their artwork, and you have just got to put yourself out there and start doing it and stay consistent.

Seeing my art gain traction and eventually allowing me to pursue it full-time was both surprising and rewarding.

Artistic Process:

Interviewer: Could you walk us through the process of creating one of your monster pieces, from conception to completion?

Luna Kustoms:  Once I have an idea brewing in my mind, I grab my trusty sketchbook and start doodling. This is where the monster begins to take shape. From there, it’s time to bring the creature to life in clay. I sculpt and mold the clay, shaping each detail with care and precision, ensuring that every curve and contour captures the essence of the monster I envision.

Once the sculpting is complete, it’s onto the painting stage, where I add vibrant colors and intricate details to really make the monster pop. Finally, the piece is finished off with a protective epoxy coating, giving it a glossy finish and ensuring its durability.

And just like that, from a mere idea to a tangible work of art, the monster comes to life, ready to delight and captivate anyone who lays eyes on it!

On average, it takes about three days to complete a piece, with around 10-12 hours of work involved. The longest part is waiting for each step to cure, especially when applying epoxy coatings.

What’s Next:

Interviewer: Are there any upcoming projects or designs you’re excited about?

Luna Kustoms: I’ve recently started working on canvases again and plan to explore smaller clay sculptures and possibly create molds for more accessibility. I’m also considering branching out into creating female monster characters.

Advice for Aspiring Artists:

Interviewer: What advice would you give to someone looking to turn their passion for art into a career?

Luna Kustoms: You don’t need formal education in art. Stay consistent, put your work out there, and don’t focus too much on follower numbers. It’s about honing your craft and perseverance.

3D Clay Art

3D Clay Art

Rochelle Yoder of Luna Kustoms’ artistic odyssey serves as a testament to the power of passion and persistence, reminding us that sometimes, the most extraordinary journeys begin with a simple spark of inspiration.

Click here for the details of the 2024 Edition of the Flying Piston Benefit in Daytona, FL. 

Mrs Zigs PaintingAbout The Flying Piston: The  Flying Piston Benefit is produced by Marilyn Stemp of Iron Trader News &  Jeff Najar of Horsepower Marketing.  Our work raises funds for non-profits and individuals in the motorcycle community, vets, and kindergartners. To help out and to join the team, click here. 

Pictures courtesy of Luna Kustoms