I can't recall when I first discovered Madame Talbot's incredible "Victorian Lowbrow" style or saw her intricate (and completely hand drawn!) posters, but I've been a huge fan of her work for some time. If you're a fellow fan of the macabre, you've probably seen her artwork in museum gift shops—the Mütter Museum, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, the International Museum of Surgical Science—or curiosity shops like Evolution (or even knock-offs of her work—seriously, don't steal people's artwork, ok???).
I've never met Ashleigh Talbot, and in an interview posted on her site, she describes herself as "a reclusive artist" who doesn't "take part in the gallery scene," but lives with her "husband and five cats in a 140-year-old haunted house located on the edge of the Oregon Coast." However, thanks to the magic of the Internet (and specifically Instagram), we've become friendly and I am awed at the glimpses into her process and madly jealous of her top-notch private collection of oddities.
Her posters are so intricate and incredibly detailed, a fact that becomes even more impressive when you take into account that she does every step by hand. You can see photos of her process here, but she is very adamant that no computers are involved—from pencil sketch to inking, to the final printing process, everything is done without the aid of digital technology. I'm a graphic designer, but I've never considered myself an artist and I'm continually in awe of anyone who can produce art using only their hands and a pencil.
When I moved into my new apartment—and even though I was losing wall space—I decided to treat myself to a Madame Talbot print. I'd had my eye on the Halloween print for some time, and I always forget that they're so wildly affordable ($14.95 with free shipping and it arrived in two days). When I posted on Instagram about the order, Madame Talbot responded almost immediately with the kindest note, offering to send me another print of my choosing as a housewarming gift. Choosing from her inventory is always difficult—I want them all!—but the Antique Prosthetics poster was the ultimate winner.
Madame Talbot didn't send me the poster so I would blog about it (to my five followers, lolz) but because she's just a nice person. The Internet can be a dark and scary place full of trolls and instant Web MD cancer self-diagnoses, but occasionally it can be a magical place that connects people with similar interests that would otherwise never meet. I never imagined when I first tagged Madame Talbot's work in a photo of my gallery wall that she'd respond or turn out to be so kind—we'll probably never meet in person, but her artwork enriches me on a daily basis.