With Halloween quickly approaching, I decided to reach out to Ryan Shaffer, a local artist and entrepreneur who makes awesome horror movie prop replicas, dioramas, and signs. I went to high school with Ryan and we reconnected a few years ago. I was amazed at the cool work he was producing and still am in awe that someone in our little community makes such creative projects! I hope you enjoy the interview and if you love Ryan's work, make sure to check him out on Facebook.
Q: Who are you?
A: Ryan Shaffer, owner of Horror Express Studios - Somerset County, PA
Q: What kind of art do you make?
A: I do a lot of Horror movie prop replicas and collectibles such as iconic character weapons, dioramas and custom signs from select films. Lately I've been creating a lot of commissioned pieces that fall into these categories.
Q: How did you get started?
A: The first fabricated piece that I created was the Chainsaw that Ash Williams uses in the Evil Dead Franchise. I always wanted one and thought I’d try it out. I realized that I wanted to build horror rather than draw it on paper so I started Horror Express Studios in 2008 and have been working full time with it for the past 3 years.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being creative?
A: There's a saying that fits this answer perfectly and I live by it. "There isn't anything that you can't do if you put your mind to it." I enjoy learning new products and ways to make certain effects happen.
Q: What’s your #1 tip for new artists?
A: Don't give up! I can't express that enough. When something doesn’t want to work out, you have to make it work out no matter how many times you destroy your piece in frustration.
Step away and take some time away, but make sure you get back in there and try again.
There is an answer for every issue along the way. It just takes hard work and dedication to learn how to work out the issues.
Q: What artist inspires you?
A: There's a long list of artists out there that I look up to in the movie industry, but at the top of that list it has to be Tom Savini.
Q: What project are you currently working on?
A: I just recently finished building what I call, "The Bus Driver." It is a Freddy glove based off of the way it appears in the second installment of the Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise.
Q: Where can people find you if they love your work?
A: I run my business on Facebook and the direct link to my page is,
Q: Anything else you’d like to mention?
A: I appreciate you reaching out for more information based off of what I do and love! It was my true pleasure to answer these questions and I look forward to hearing from anyone who is interested in obtaining anything of mine!