Since George A. Romero released The Night of the Living Dead in 1968, flesh-eating zombies have ruled the world.
One California couple has channelled its love for the undead into a successful line of handmade zombie lawn gnomes.
Over the last year Los Angeles-based artists Chris Stever and Jane DeRosa have taken the iconic garden gnome and turned it into ghoulish zombie sure to keep any critter away.
Each gnome has its own personality and story. Some of the pieces, like “Patient Zero,” feature your classic zombie aimlessly looking for their next meal while others, like “Bye Bye Birdie,” feature a team of flesh eaters chowing down on a helpless bird.
“Chris was the one that first came up with the concept. He was driving down the freeway in California where we live, and wondered if the zombie virus could jumped to fantasy creatures like gnomes,” DeRosa told the Daily Dot. “I said, ‘YES. That is awesome! You have to make that!’ So we made one for laughs and out of curiosity we put it up on Etsy to see if others might like it too.”
And Esty has responded in kind.
Since launching their store about a year ago, the couple has sold more than 1,000 gnomes. But that hasn’t been without laboring, well, like zombies.
The couple works about 10 hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week, to create the creepy-looking lawn creatures. They explained their production process in the following video made for the Daily Dot.
“We design, sculpt, make, paint, seal, and mail every single gnome. We first spend about a day or two shooting around zombie gnome ideas until we have thought of something that makes us both laugh. Then Chris goes about the process of sculpting the gnome from scratch which usually takes a few days (sometimes longer) to complete. Another few days are spent molding the gnome usually more than one at a time. Then a finished version is handed off to me to come up with the paint design and test out different color palettes. Then we take pictures and put it up on etsy crossing our fingers that someone will find it funny too.”
DeRosa and Stever have been artists almost their entire lives, and honed much of their talent in school and with the help of their families. Both of DeRosa’s parents are Disney animators and Stever has recently worked on movie special effects.
The gnomes were a big hit on Reddit about a week ago after their “Bye Bye Birdie” piece got posted on the sites popular r/WTF section. The couple also had its gnomes on Dude I Want That and will be selling them in an Australian store called The Third Drawer Down.
Because of the increase in demand for the gnomes, the two are tweaking their production and mailing strategy to get them out the door faster.
“We realize it's not for everyone, but as long it makes people laugh we'll keep making them,” DeRosa said. “It has been an amazing journey so far and we can't wait to see where our little store / zombie gnomes take us next.”
Photo by Chris Stever and Jane DeRosa