10 Questions for Jodi Walker, DIY Artist Behind Bat Factory
By Matt Chrystal (WNJ correspondent)
I am flying high over Tupelo, Mississippi with America’s hottest band… and we are all about to die! Nope I’m not doing that. I’m navigating a vast series of subterranean caves beneath New Jersey in search of Bat Factory, the secret headquarters, command center and safe house of DIY artist, Jodi Walker. Well, something like that. Bat Factory can no longer be considered a secret as a result of Jodi’s tireless do-it-yourself work ethic, resourcefulness and imagination. And sure, Bat Factory can still be referred to as “underground,” in the sense that her unique conceptions are far from the everyday, the run-of-the-mill prints or wall hangings for sale at Pottery Barn.
But you need not go spelunking to find the creepy custom creations of Jodi Walker. She can usually be located at any given bazaar, flea market or convention in the Garden State. Somewhere, in between vending at the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market, the NJ Zombie Walk & Undead Festival, Monster Mania Con, Smithville ArtWalk and the Flemington Punk Rock Flea Market, and sometime in between bringing her ideas into reality, Jodi Walker found time to answer ten questions for D.I.Y.N.J.
Everyone loves an origin story… Soooo….
1. This one may be fairly obvious, since much of your creations focus on bats… but what is the story behind the name BAT FACTORY and ummm, why do you like bats so much?
I grew up in an area that was heavily wooded. In my backyard, we had a big spotlight and on summer nights I would watch the bats fly around and eat the bugs attracted to the light. I always thought bats were kinda cute yet creepy and misunderstood. Like me! Bat Factory came out of a brain storming session with a friend of mine. Sitting in his basement making monsters and day dreaming about what we could name a company. He went on to do HVAC, I went on to do Bat Factory.
2. How/Why/When did you get started?
I’ve always been an artist. I went to school on and off for it. I always created handmade gifts for family and friends. I started using the name Bat Factory in 2011 when I thought there weren’t enough cool creepy things on the market for people like me.
3. What does your process look like (selecting designs, creating, etc.)?
I get inspired by music, creepy movies, and life in general. Sometimes I come across something cute and think, hey I could make a scary version of that…and it’d be awesome. NAPKIN DOODLES! It’s amazing the ideas that show up at a bar on some coasters and napkins. I save a lot of them and transfer them to sketchbooks or right to a new project.
I love all things Jersey. We get a bad rap! PORK ROLL! Trenton makes ART! Calico the Evil Clown of Middletown! There are so many weird and unique things in NJ that deserve to be celebrated.
Speaking of community, in marketing and networking these days, online communities usually have a big role in the success and expansion of DIY businesses. And as with any relationship, there seems to be periods of love and hate as opinions and reviews flow freely on open forums and message boards…
5. Does being part of an online community make it difficult to “please the people” and still “stay true” to your vision?
I owe my success to social media. I’ve sold art to people all over the country, and even other parts of the world. Usually when “the people” suggest I make certain things I give it a try. It can’t be pink and frilly, though. But most of my fans aren’t into that kind of thing anyway. KEEP IT WEIRD! ALWAYS!
6. What phase of the love/hate relationship would describe your current state of mind when dealing with the online community? You can tell me!
I wish it wasn’t so hard and costly to get people to see my work. But it’s all an investment. I wish more people would click BUY then click LIKE!
7a. What is one of your favorite adventures or experiences related to your brand?
A bat biologist in California regularly buys my work. I’ve met so many cool & unique people from doing Punk Rock Flea Markets and Horror Conventions.
7b. Any least favorite?
Once when the selling was rough, I ate a cockroach for $100.
8. What should we know about what you got going on?
I’m always looking to create new things. I take suggestions and commissions. I can make your weird idea a reality. Probably.
9. What can we look forward to in the future?
More metal! More wood! Working with iron and aluminum!
Thanks for the info, your time, Miss Walker! Aannnnd to our faithful readers, Stay Up, Stay Tuned and Tune In Next Time as WEIRD NJ “Breaks Bad” with other DIY artists that are flying high in the Garden State.