Kevin “Turkey” Merck | Episode 366
Kevin “Turkey” Merck makes functional ceramic ware with a horror twist. Kevin’s work is painstakingly handcrafted and custom glazed which makes each mug an individual piece of art. Though some work has a mold as a starting point, Kevin spends hours shaping and forming through hands-on craftsmanship. Kevin also incorporates fantasy and sci-fi elements into his work when the mood strikes him.
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Where does courage come from to stand and make as an artist?
A quickfire round and that is the lead off question? Where does courage come from? Oh, man.
I am not very articulate so bear with me. For me, I can say for me, I don’t know about anybody else but my courage as an artist came from literally years and years and thousands of hours of really hard work and dedication and passion to my craft. And through that I built confidence in my abilities. I am not very confident still but I have built enough confidence to where I willing to put my work out there for people to see it.
You used your business degree to develop your business for ceramics. What is one of the best lessons that you learned in business school that you apply to your ceramic business?
I am going to be really honest with you. There is hardly anything that I remember very specifically from business school. That sounds weird, it’s kind of how my brain works. When I get in a situation stuff comes back to me. Like you kind of just see stuff and you react to it. I will put it this way. I can shoot a gun really well. I have hunted since I was a little kid though. I do not recall the first time, or the second or third or fourth time I was taught how to shoot a gun. But I know when I pick up a gun now, or a fishing pole, or whatever tool I need at the time, I can use it. That’s what I felt about business. I learned to manage groups of people and I used a lot of that teaching. As I was teaching I as recognizing these strategies from business school. I don’t remember learning them but they were stored in my mind. I would say the biggest skill as far as business is concerned would be cost analysis. That would be the major skill that I learned in business school that I actually apply in my current business.
What is your marketing strategy?
That’s an easy one. Thank you. This one is really super simple. My goal has always been, I don’t want to sound like I am bragging, but I enjoy working really, really hard at whatever I set my mind to. That came from my grandpa and my granny. They are real old school and they taught us to just bust your tail at whatever you do. I wanted to make something that looked really interesting and really cool in my eyes and I put that out there and that is my marketing strategy. That’s it. Just make cool looking stuff.
You put a lot of work out there. Do you have people that try to copy your work?
Yes, sir. But you know, it’s very flattering but I have had a couple of people that pretty much tried to replicate my initial zombie design. They tried to replicate that design almost exactly to the best of their ability and then they turned around and were selling it as their own. That hurt me , which I contacted them and we actually had a cordial conversation and they actually pulled them off their Etsy page. Which I thought was kind of them to do.
How do you protect yourself if you know people are interested and want to copy your work?
You know, I really don’t know, honestly. I tell you what I have done when I have seen someone actually take one of my designs and replicate it where they are actually trying to make it look like my work, I just straight up contact them. I just shoot them a message. I am polite about it and everything, I try not to be rude or anything. I just contact them and ask them not to do it.
My last question is: What is your favorite horror movie?
To me it would be a toss up between Alien and Predator. I remember watching those movies as a kid and how they freaked me out. The were just creepy and so cool at the same time.