The Whimsical Art of Charlene Murray Zatloukal

This is my very small office and printing 'center'.
Sketched out and ready to paint...Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
Pulling excess paint, to smooth out the tree trunk.
Skittles does demand a lot of my attention and she tends to pout when she doesn't get it.
I have to paint at my dining room table, note the crates of assorted paints in the background.

A place of Sadness, Hope and Possibilities

Hi there!
I'm Charlene, the artist behind 'Rustic Goth' creations.
And...just so you know...I'm about to tell you more than you probably wanted to know about me. My children are always telling me that I tell people way too much about me...but, that's who I here goes!

I am mother to 6 wonderful children and grandmother to 10.
I live in the Midwest with one of my son's, who is back in college to finish his degree (who sometimes paints one or two of his wonderful paintings, which he lets me offer for sale in my shop) ... and the new 'love in my life', a Maltese-Yorkshire terrier mix, Skittles. She is the reason I get up every morning, literally. The whole potty thing and all.

Most of the art in my Rustic Goth shop comes from a place deep within my heart.
A place of melancholia, sadness and depression, but also of "what if's" and possibilities.

I grew up in a time and a place that didn't support art education at the high school level, so my limited exposure was confined to the early school years. Though I always knew it was something I enjoyed doing, it was something I would, eventually, have to teach myself to do.

While carrying my fourth child, I was confined to bed. My sweet husband, seeing how bored I was just laying around, surprised me with a set of acrylic paints, some canvas paper and a handful of brushes.
I had no idea what I was doing, so I began by looking at the art on the back cover of Reader's Digest magazines and trying to get my pieces to look as much like the cover art as possible.
I was hooked!

Raising a large family does have a few drawbacks. Mostly in the area of finances. So my husband and I had to tap in to our 'creative selves' and figure out how we could put a bit more into the 'coffers', especially during the holidays.
We began creating all sorts of little things and selling them at the seasonal arts and crafts shows in whatever state we happened to be living in at the time. Our most popular creations were, real egg ornaments hand painted with little winter scenes or cute little holiday characters.

We've owned our own business, lost it, been homeless, lived in a family shelter and still managed to keep creating even while sitting in the family station wagon, waiting for the kids' to get out of school.

In 2004, I decided to take 'early retirement'. The stress from working in corporate America was affecting my health. My husband had been after me for so many years, to do 'something' with my art, so I decided to open a shop on another site and actually sold the very first piece
of art I listed. Then another...and another! Life was GRAND!! I was doing what I really wanted to do and getting paid for it!!

Then my life turned completely upside down!! My husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer in May of 2005. It quickly spread to the lungs and the LOVE of my life passed away on Father's Day, June 18th, 2006.
I was devastated!! I went into such a dark place that it was all I could do to slop some paint on a canvas and try to sell it online. Unfortunately, I didn't have any other income. Neither one of us had any life insurance. It didn't occur to us that we really would NEED it someday.

Opening my Rustic Goth shop in November of 2007 gave me the opportunity to go through all of the stages of grief, through my art.
My 'creepers' came about after listening to the words of Radiohead's song 'Creep'. It kind of expressed the way I was feeling, 'what the hell am I doing here...I don't belong here'.
(The song also inspired the name..."creepers".)
These little characters were purposely nondescript with puzzled, confused and sad expressions, whilst carrying their hearts around on their sleeves or in their hands, almost always accompanied by a hedgehog companion to signify that ..' hurts'.

My 'melancholy girls' reflected the sadness and depression I was experiencing and in the early years, were always dressed in mourning black.

In the past year or so,my art has become a little brighter with a dash more hope. Given my love for fantasy and science fiction, I've expanded to include Steampunk and Fantasy Landscapes and whatever strikes me as something I want to do at the moment. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't..but one never knows until they try it on for size.

When I say 'creating art is what I I live..' I mean that in every literal sense of the word.
It's what keeps me going, how I pay the bills, how I discover who I am and how I am feeling!

Thank you for taking the time to take a brief glance into my life and the inspiration behind the creations in my little Rustic Goth shop! I have another shop on Etsy...mainly focused toward art for children it is...
Charlene Murray Zatloukal
"Creating art is what I is how I live... how I connect with the world that exists outside of my studio!" .. I hope my art creates a reaction in all who view it and a special connection with those who put it in their homes.

Featured listings from RusticGoth