We officially, and formally introduce you to Kelly Migliori! Tropical Spooky illustrator from the Philadelphia area! Dive into our Q & A and get to know the artist behind the artwork! 

We have so many different looks featuring Kelly's artwork. Trust me, you're gonna need all of it. Shop Kelly's artwork here

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? What are your hobbies?

I grew up in a small town called Schnecksville. It’s in Pennsylvania Dutch country, near Allentown. Then I moved to Philly for college. It’s sometimes hard to find time for hobbies, because when I have free time I usually try to spend it out doing something with friends. If I do ever find myself on my own, then I really enjoy writing. Just like drawing, I think it’s a good creative outlet. I love reading too, especially in the summertime when I can take a book outside and read it while I sit in the sun. 

Q: What inspires you as an artist? When did you know you wanted to pursue art as a career?

I knew for as long as I can remember. Drawing has always been one of my favorite things. When I was in elementary school, our librarian told us about illustrators and used to keep a poster up of all the Caldecott Award winning book covers from over the years. I thought that was the coolest job, an artist who tells stories with their pictures. When I was seven years old I told my parents I wanted to be an illustrator when I grew up, and they were very supportive but they just couldn’t figure out where I had learned what that was. When I eventually went to college, it was no surprise that I got my bachelor’s in illustration.

As for inspiration, I take a lot of influence from the music and movies I like, which is mostly stuff like horror movies, punk rock, and psychobilly. I just always liked monsters and anything that was loud and weird and fun. I get a lot of inspiration from the more over-the-top horror movies of the 80s, stuff like The Thing, where the special effects and the creature designs are just bonkers. And bands like the Cramps or the Nekromantix, who have that fun surf rock sound but with tongue-in-cheek lyrics about ghosts and ghouls. 

Q: What are some of your favorite designs you’ve done for Sourpuss? (Please attach) 

I can honestly say I’ve had a blast working on all of them. Tropical spooky is very much my vibe so I always enjoy working on these kinds of designs. I think the Monster Tikis might be my favorite though. I had originally planned to just do tiki designs for Frankenstein’s monster and the bride, but I was having so much fun I just kept going and wound up including a bunch of other monsters too. I also have a very special place in my heart for the Tropicthulu design. That was my first ever attempt at creating a surface design pattern, and I approached it with the goal of making something that I personally would want to wear. At the time I was really into Hawaiian shirts (I still am), but I wanted a pattern that had a little spooky twist to it. My favorite time of the year is late summer, when the weather is warm and you can still go down to the beach, but you can also sense that Halloween is just around the corner. I wanted to make something that captured that vibe. 

Q: What are your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I’d love to keep making apparel designs. I’ve always had a very distinct style and I like expressing myself through clothes. I wanna keep making designs for people like me who are into the more alternative subcultures. I also think it would be fun to try my hand at t-shirt designs, since I love a good graphic tee. 

One day, I’d love to do some licensed art too. Movies and music have such a huge influence on me. It would be awesome to design for some of the properties that inspire me. You don’t see them as often in the digital age, but I love old hand painted movie posters and album covers. I think there’s still a market for work like that, and I’d love to design something for it.   

Q: Name your go-to horror movie, and your least favorite horror movie! 

Hands down, Stuart Gordon’s Re-animator from 1985. It’s my favorite. I watched it for the first time when I was about 14 and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks afterward. It has some genuinely scary bits, like the final confrontation in the morgue, but it’s also so unapologetically funny and campy and weird. I tend to tell people it’s the movie that changed my life, because I feel like it opened my eyes to a whole different approach to horror. Before that I didn’t know that you could make movies that were such a good combination of spooky and fun. 

It’s hard to pick a least favorite, since I can’t usually force myself to sit through a movie that I don’t enjoy. I will say I have a very love/hate relationship with David Croneberg’s The Fly though. I think it’s an amazingly well-made piece of cinema. The acting, the storyline, and the special effects are all top notch, but I refuse to ever sit down and watch it in its entirety because just the overall concept is too upsetting and disturbing to me. The first time I ever saw an image of Brundlefly, it haunted me. And I just can’t bring myself to watch such a grotesque story about a man slowly losing his humanity. 

Q: You’re a fellow Philadelphian, what is a must see in the city? 

So I think my favorite way to spend a sunny afternoon in the city is to grab some friends and take a walk down South Street to Penn’s Landing, and then just walk through Spruce Street Harbor Park or sit and watch the water. If I’m down on South Street near Penn’s Landing though, I have to hit up Crash Bang Boom. It’s the best place to buy alternative clothes in the city, plus it's awesome that it’s the successor to the legendary Zipperhead. Also the owners Steph and Rob are the sweetest. I like popping in to say hi, but I usually can’t walk out without buying something. Philly AIDS Thrift is also right down the street and I feel like that’s always fun to explore. Once I’m done near the waterfront though, I like heading down Passyunk to Devil’s Den for dinner. It’s my go-to spot, chill atmosphere and good food. It’s the perfect place to grab a sandwich and a beer, or if I'm feeling it, a nice big pot of steamed mussels.




Tell us! What other kinds of prints do you want to see from Kelly? Sound off in the comments! 

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I LOVE Kelly’s art! I have the tropicthulu dress and parasol(wear them all the time) and the kreep a tiki dress and purse. I was so excited for the tropighoul swimwear…so cool! I should have known they were all from the same artist. Now, I know and it is so neat to read about Kelly. Just want to thank you for such excellent designs. I love your work and can’t wait to wear more of it.


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