This week’s Artist’s spotlight is on @islandofmisfittoysco
- Tell me a little about yourself:
“My name is Maddie Copp, and I’m an illustrator, sculptor, 80’s and 90’s nostalgia nerd, and a dog hiker and trainer on the side! I own and operate ‘Island of Misfit Toys’ and ‘Copp Creature Shop’ with my husband, Justin Mattarocchia-Copp. We have our own studio space in Somerville, MA that we share with a few other artists, and musicians.
I primarily design and illustrate my own tarot decks, paint, sculpt cute, creepy, and fantasy-themed art dolls and 3-D characters, and make the occasional puppet! I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and pursued that path pretty unblinkingly all the way
through college, earning my BFA in Illustration from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2012. I interned at ‘Puppet Showplace Theater’ in Brookline, MA (go check them out!) following my graduation from college, and learned all about making mouth-style puppets, putting
on puppet shows, and painted the theater windows for upcoming shows. I also spent time archiving and organizing a lot of cool, OLD puppets that the theater was storing (including Pelham Puppets, and some hand puppets held and used by Jim Henson!).
After I left Puppet Showplace, I eventually circled back to focusing on my illustration degree when my friend,
Carly, had a dream one night (literally haha!!) that I should illustrate my own tarot decks, and she told me about it (because of my life-long interest in tarot and the occult). And that was that! My first tarot deck, the Twin Peaks inspired Tarot, was born. Which is currently my most popular
item in my Etsy shop! When my husband and I aren’t drawing, painting, animating, sculpting, puppet-ing, and generally being weird, hermit-y, and trying to reject “normal” 9-5 pursuits– we are running our off-leash dog-hiking business, Red’s Rovers (named after our hound-son, Red).”
2. Can you talk about the Twin Peaks tarot’s cards you just made? What made you want to make a set of cards on this subject vs. Another?
“The Twin Peaks Tarot deck is very special to me, and it seems it already is for many other people as well. Which I’m so happy about!! The deck started as a passion project in response to my love for David Lynch and Mark Frost’s show from the 90’s, Twin Peaks. People had been telling me for years “Maddie, go watch Twin Peaks!”, “Knowing you, you’ll love Twin Peaks!”
And admittedly, being the distractable person I am, I put off watching it for years. Then ‘Stranger Things’ by the Duffer Brothers came out. Weirdly enough, that was my gateway to Twin Peaks! I remember loving Stranger Things Season 1 so much, and my husband one night walked by
me while I was re-watching it (again) and was like “Honey, if you like Stranger Things this much, you should really give Twin Peaks a try.” And that was what it took I guess! I basically binge watched ALL of it (Season 1, 2 and the Return, as well as ‘Fire Walk with Me’ and ‘The Missing
Pieces’) in a two-week period. I was hooked!! The thing that struck me most about ‘Twin Peaks’ were the layers of symbolism to decipher and work through, which honestly I think is the appeal for most hardcore fans of the show. As I mentioned, my friend Carly had a dream randomly that I started illustrating my own tarot decks, and told me about it (which in itself is a very Twin Peaks-like occurrence!). Then one day while I was at work, it was like a lightning bolt hit me—what if I did a Twin Peaks themed tarot deck?? I started re-watching the show (again) and started trying to go through each card, working out which scenes, characters, and symbolism would translate well to tarot. It seemed like such a natural fit for a tarot deck, to me. I had to do it!!”
3. Who are your top 3 favorite Twin Peaks characters and why?
“Oh man…that’s a tough one! I feel like there are SO many excellent and necessary characters in the show. I tend to think of most of the characters in Twin Peaks as a sort of spiderweb of necessary protagonists and foils, whose personalities and side-plots compliment and build off one another, in such a way that if one were to not exist, the story would completely
But I digress haha– I think if I HAD to choose, I would say Agent Cooper, Laura Palmer, and The Log Lady.
It’s safe to say Agent Cooper and Laura Palmer are effectively the main characters of the show, and their stories ultimately end up being the most intertwined, especially if you watch all the way through ‘The Return’. To me, Laura and Agent Cooper go through the largest transformations of
any other characters through the series, and seem to embody both the best and worst qualities of human nature (which is also a recurring theme throughout the show). Though Laura is depicted as already deceased through most of the series, while she was alive, Laura was outwardly a witty, bubbly, beautiful girl.
Privately however, she suffers with substance abuse,mental illness, psychic/spiritual abuse, and to top it off, an abusive home life, and unhealthy love life (which is covered in ‘Fire Walk with Me’). Similarly, Agent Cooper (who is later assigned to solving Laura’s murder) is outwardly a charming, dapper, intelligent, perfectionist FBI agent.
Privately however, he suffers with his own past traumas and perceived failings. Both of these characters, who are initially made to seem “perfect” (almost visibly like a real-life Barbie and Ken), are later made to confront their darker, uglier selves (even literally, inside the Black Lodge). To me, Laura Palmer and Agent Cooper are two of the most relatable characters, for this reason. They are an embodiment of the struggle we all face every day in society to appear outwardly “normal”,“happy” and “perfect”.
Though, the Log Lady (or Margaret Lanterman) MAY actually be my #1 favorite, just because I feel like her character is so well done. She’s introduced as the reclusive crazy lady in town (the old widow carrying a literal log around, saying it can talk, flicking the light switches frantically at
town meetings, etc.), but she turns out to be a remarkably important character in the show, whose predictions about the future of Twin Peaks and its inhabitants come true time-after-time. Even helping the Twin Peaks police department and Agent Cooper with a murder case that just
keeps getting weirder and weirder. For me, the Log Lady symbolizes the quiet (maybe crazy sounding) voice inside all of us, tapping into our intuitions and gut-feelings, challenging our perception of the world around us, and asking, “what if?”
4. What is the most popular item in your shop and why do you feel that is?
“Currently the most popular item in my shop is my Twin Peaks Tarot deck, but more specifically, the separate listings I have for the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. I have found while some folks really prefer buying the whole deck all in one go, MANY folks who buy from my shop have either never used tarot before, have just started watching Twin Peaks, or are on a budget (like most of us!), so would rather “dip a toe in” and buy JUST the Minor or JUST the Major cards first, to see how they like it, before purchasing the rest. I originally had them listed separately just because I was going so slow illustrating all the cards, and didn’t want to keep folks waiting for the whole deck to drop at once. But it ended up being something people asked for
specifically later on!”
5. Do you have any exciting news or promotions that you would like to share?
“YES! I am going to have a new Beetlejuice themed tarot deck dropping in my shop soon, as well as a bunch of various 80’s and 90’s themed nostalgia prints and stickers I’ve designed myself. I am aiming to have everything listed by or before mid-September!”
If you like to learn more about Maddie. The following contact information is below:
Her Esty store:
Her Instagram accounts: @islandofmisfittoysco