Sick Sad Girls started out as a monthly arts and crafts day for female identifiers to explore their creativity in a safe space. It later evolved into a small business shared by best friends Charlie Quintero and Camille Smooch. They create artwork that speaks true to themselves and their fellow misfits. Both have a background in traditional art and special makeup effects. They don’t feel married to any medium and constantly love to switch it up: drawing, painting, embroidering, tattooing, eye-making, you name it! Switching between mediums keeps them alert, inspired, and feeling as though they are truly capable of making anything their hearts desire!
How did you first get into handmade creations?
We have always made stuff with our hands; not feeling very confident in writing or speaking, creating art has always been our way of communicating with everyone. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with creating that’s indescribable. We often create things for ourselves because it’s hard to find that particular “thing” we want.
Even at a young age we were already drawn to art, and a lack of money growing up forced us to get creative with our clothing. One of our favorite pastimes is going to thrift stores and re-upcycling clothing to fit us.
We have always liked how it felt wearing clothing that was uniquely one-of-a-kind and made by us. We also used to create spells and make potions to help others or ourselves manifest power.
Your art is pretty weird and creepy, where do you find inspiration?
The two of us have always been creeps. Halloween is our favorite time of the year! Raised on Tim Burton and campy 80s horror flicks. We have a deep love for everything horror and science fiction and are constantly finding inspiration in all aspects of life, including dreams and nightmares, mythology, magic, cinema, music, found objects, fashion, literature, as well as in love and friendship.
Do you think we are a sick sad society?
Yes, our society, especially in the United States, is a hot mess. If you are friends with us on Instagram, @sick.sad.girls, you can see that we are definitely not shy about sharing our views. Over the last four years we have felt angry and hopeless with this administration, especially this past year with how the president has handled the pandemic by downplaying the seriousness of the virus and ignoring scientists.
It’s because of capitalist greed that over 189,000 people have lost their lives from the virus. Millions of people have lost their jobs and are now losing their housing because of the refusal to cancel rent or provide any sort of relief for those impacted by Covid.
Seeing all of our friends and the youth coming out to protest against police brutality has given us some hope again—we are optimistic that there will be real change. In our ideal society, there would be a dismantling of oppressive and inhumane systems like the police, ICE, and the military. Defunding of these systems means funding for education, science, health care, and community services. When you look at the safest communities in the US, they don’t have the most cops, they have the most resources!
We want to see the abolishment of prisons; the majority of people being imprisoned are for crimes that are motivated by need, such as petty theft for food, money to afford housing or support children, and prostitution to make ends meet. To that last point, there should also be a decriminalizing of sex work, for sex workers are deserving of the same legal protections as anyone else and should not be in constant fear of police/client violence.
So many people have had their lives stolen from them for something as small as having weed on them, which is now legal here in California. Everyone in prison for weed should be released immediately!
We also believe in animal liberation. Factory farming is destroying our environment and is cruel and unusual punishment for the billions of animals being slaughtered.
We should strive to be a more egalitarian society. By having equal opportunities for all, we can more efficiently work together to further cultivate culture and advance technology.
When communities come together, we can implement real change. We have been dependent too long on a corrupt, broken, and racist system.
What role plays sexuality in your communication and art?
We were both raised in a Catholic environment and have associated sexuality with something to be ashamed about when we were younger. It gave us body dysmorphia at a young age which we are still dealing with today.
Using art to explore our femininity and sexuality, we now view it as something that is very empowering. Over time, we have learned to carry ourselves with more confidence and pride.
Also, we think sex education is very important and it is very much lacking in our society. Women especially are criticized for being sexually adventurous and owning their bodies, so we try to create sex and body positive art with a femme twist, usually with a dash of comedy sprinkled in. It’s our way of getting digestible information out there.
What’s your favorite piece?
Oh that’s so tough!! We initially started as a patch and pin-focused shop. Patches especially are such an easy way to completely transform an old, boring item from your closet into something totally different!
We really hate fast fashion, so upcycling clothing has always been a great way to combat that. We just love giving items a new life!
To be more specific for:
Camille: I’ve been designing a tarot deck and though it’s not finished yet I feel quite connected with it already. It’s been hard for me to find a tarot deck that i’m totally in love with so decided to just make my own.
Charlie: My favorite piece would have to be my Don’t Panic portrait because it has my favorite books that have made an impression on my life. Also, I made that piece during a rough time trying to make ends meet as an artist. It’s nice to look back at that moment in time to see how much I have progressed over the years.
What would be your #1 advice to other diy artists?
Collaborate! Without collaboration between the two of us we wouldn’t have come together to form Sick Sad Girls. Collaboration creates a stronger community as there is strength in numbers and power in the melding of multiple minds.
It may take some time finding someone you groove with but it’s totally worth it!! Sick Sad Girls wouldn’t exist without each other. We have taught one other so many things during this collaborative process that we are now better artists and humans because of it!! We really don’t know what we would do without each other.
SICK SAD GIRLS