Friday, May 15, 2015

Taliesin Meets… …Wiktor Plitz

Today on Taliesin Meets the Vampires we meet Wiktor Plitz, a French artist who produces vampire killing/hunting kits and makes them available to buy.

TMtV: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

WP: I am a multidisciplinary visual artist working under the name of Wiktor Plitz, in France. On one hand I work on pictures of visual communication of my clients (graphic design, videos, organization of exhibitions and events). On the other hand, I work for myself by producing artwork and handmade boxes – especially the kits of vampire hunters.

TMtV: How long have you been making vampire hunting kits?

WP: I have been creating those kits for a year. Their conception needs a lot of time, especially to find the best price for each component, in order to offer to the public the most affordable prices. That’s why I can’t work all year long on those boxes. I work on them each for three months in my workshop. Generally, it takes almost a month to create a few pieces to add to the rest of the collection.

TMtV: What inspired you to start making them?

WP: By organizing the third edition of the Salon du Vampire (Vampire Show) (the only show with this thematic in France) with the association to which I belong The Lyon Beefsteak Club (chaired by Adrien Party, from the website vampirisme.comwe noticed together that it would be good to have a stand with the vampire hunters' kits. We didn't know anyone who could make the coffers, so I threw myself into the adventure and I found I enjoyed the manufacture of the kits.

TMtV: Do you make the exterior boxes yourself?

WP: It depends. Some of the boxes are handmade, others have been found through antiquing and recovered or bought nude. According to the theme I use this or that coffer. Sometimes a given box is needed, sometimes the box offers inspiration. A big part of the process is to restore and customise the boxes when I don’t make them.

TMtV: How many of the components do you hand make and what pre-made components do you use?

WP: The principal handmade work is the formwork for the kits' components, and the customisation of the coffer. I mostly use balsa, fabric, and leather for the formworks. I use antiquing, find, and recover the rest.

TMtV: Do you ever use antique materials in your kits?

WP: I try to incorporate a maximum of antique materials in the kits. There are 130 year-old missals, 90 year-old vials, 100 year-old rosaries. It all depends what I can find. But when I don’t find what I am searching for, I turn to others directions, which lead me to buy some new parts.

TMtV: What do you think about the supposedly antique kits on the market?

WP: Although based on the beliefs and oldest folklores, the first vampires we could meet in society were in the books from the first half of the 18th century (like "Der Vampir" by Heinrich August Ossenfelder in 1748). It seems logical to me that some kits could be manufactured when the vampire myth mingled into public perception, and it could be possible that some of them are still intact today. Although I think that a part of the population could find truth in these stories and would like to defend themselves by fashioning their own kits. I also think that those kits are close to mine; they reflect the mutual passion between creator and the public for this vampire myth. However the oldest boxes seem to be fake, to me. The vampire myth as we know it, and as it was reflected in the antique coffers, is based on the literary development of the vampire’s figure, and they are essentially big hoaxes if they are older than the first apparitions in books.

TMtV: Can you tell us about the different styles?

WP: It’s true that there are different types of coffers, they range across medieval boxes, through Victorian and the beginning of the 20th century, to steampunk. There are coffers for everyone: family kits, travel kits, and personal ones for the sailors, for the scientists, for the Christians and for the atheists… but I, above all, separate them into the categories : protection kits, defense kits and attack kits. Each one has his utility and his own function.

TMtV: What is your personal favourite kit?

WP: Without hesitation: the Blood Sucker! It’s the only one I made that can be used by the vampire himself. Although it finds inspiration in Victorian medicine, with the procedure of extracting and studying the vampire’s blood, it’s perfect for a 19th century vampire who wants to go party with his humans friends with no risk of hurting anybody. It’s a coffer whose principal function is to hide from human eyes. Indeed, what’s better than to come equipped with this one when he accompanies his guests? A sip of absinth for you, a sip of A+ for me. After a few absinths, I think everyone will want to give his blood to his vampire friend, who has all the equipment to behave like a perfect gentleman.

TMtV: I noticed you have a fang extractor kit, what inspired you to create that?

 WP: The kits have been created on the basis of a character that I create in my mind. I imagine myself being a sailor crossing the seas who needs a defense kit in case a vampire comes on board, at night or on a dark dock (Ocean’s Hunter). I imagine myself being a Christian family father, deep in the countryside, who needs to protect his family for a possible vampire threat (Christian Protector). I imagine myself being a soldier fighting through Europe who all the time has his kit on hand to fight against a vampire that he could encounter (Gun Fighter). For the Fang Extractor, I had in mind a vampire hunter, a former dentist in the early 1900s in France who the police have asked to study a headless body. I imagined that this former dentist finds out the existence of the vampires and becomes a vampire hunter using his kit to extract the fangs from the vampires that he kills. That’s why this kit consists of two authentic dentist pliers of the early 20th century, contained in a carrying case.

TMtV: Are you a fan of vampire movies and which is your favourite?

WP: I am actually a big fan of vampire movies. I like everything in the vampire genre, from Count Dracula played by Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee to the romantic vampires from the Anne Rice books. From the blood contaminated vampires of Guillermo Del Toro to the ridiculous vampires in teen movies. But the one that I prefer is my childhood's first love : Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola. The dark world, violent and Victorian... It’s the one I like most in all the vampire world. This is related to my passion for the Universal Pictures classic monsters movies, and also to uchronies like Steampunk and Dieselpunk. The adaptation to our world is a recurrent theme when we talk about vampire, but in this film, I found an animal side and a madness which is beautifully incarnated by Gary Oldman. Even if I like to see the vampire myth move together with the zombie myth - from an esoteric and mystical creature to a victim of a blood contamination - it’s the dark side of mankind, the psychological appeal of the vampire and our own personal questioning as we face this character, which I prefer. The atmosphere of this movie has always fulfilled my expectations.

My thanks to Wiktor for his time. You can check out his kits here and they can be purchased here.

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