'Cuddly Rigor Mortis' by Kristin Tercek: Cute but Creepy


Kristin Tercek, "That Boy Sure Does Love His Butter," Photos by permission.

Plush doll creator-turned-painter Kristin Tercek is the New Jersey-based artist behind the series "Cuddly Rigor Mortis" that she describes as "bits of brutality smothered in a rich, creamy marshmallow sauce." Cute but creepy, Tercek's work combines a single "character" with varying themes, many of which involve food. We talked to Kristin about her inspirations.

"I love food. I always have. I come from an Italian family and food was the centerpiece of all of our get-togethers," Tercek tells Eat Me Daily, explaining that her husband points out frequently that all of her memories and stories somehow involve food. "It just stands to figure that when I'm staring at a lovely little crumb cake at the coffee shop that I anthropomorphize it and imagine him with a cup of joe and a big crumb laying on the floor," she said, describing how almost anything can serve as inspiration, "I also tend to see other things in food. Like a lychee. It kinda looks like a brain. Perfect! Lychee Zombie is born."

In terms of the reoccurring character, "Cuddly Rigor Mortis," she sees it more as "just a shape. That big oval head and little body fit everything so well. Helps with the 'cuddly' part as it makes things so cute." And the rigor mortis? It's "the blood or dismemberment that's usually happening to that cute, big head." But the paintings came first, the name second. She told us, "When I started all of this I needed a company name and after a couple weeks of trying to come up with something, my husband walked in the room and said, 'Cuddly rigor mortis'. And that was it!"


Kristin Tercek, "Citruside," Photos by permission.


Kristin Tercek, "Fromage," Photos by permission.


Kristin Tercek, "Jelly," Photos by permission.

Sweet Lobotomy

Kristin Tercek, "Sweet Lobotomy," Photos by permission.

Happy Birthday

Kristin Tercek, "Happy Birthday," Photos by permission.

Coffee Break

Kristin Tercek, "Coffee Break," Photos by permission.

Lychee Zombie

Kristin Tercek, "Lychee Zombie," Photos by permission.

Non Pareil

Kristin Tercek, "Non Parell," Photos by permission.

Peppermint Gimp

Kristin Tercek, "Peppermint Gimp," Photos by permission.


Kristin Tercek, "Optometry," Photos by permission.

Tercek's work is available for sale on her website where prices range from $25 for prints and $80 for original acrylic on wood paintings.

-Michelle Mettler

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Comment Feed

  1. Thank you so much, Michelle! The piece looks great!

  2. RCE

    The suicidal kawaii idea is kind of a rip-off of Luke Chueh:

  3. RCE: Luke Chueh is great and what I'm doing is not new by any means. Victorians were doing anthropomorphic creepiness way before any of us. They also loved having food-stuffs cutting into themselves with big smiles on their faces. I just paint what I'm feeling or seeing and am thankful that other people are responding to it.

  4. godzilla complex

    i dunno... i kind of agree w/ RCE. definite talent here though.

  5. Me-Mo

    If you go to Luke Chueh's website,you will notice there aren't really any similarities as poster RCE states.Other than both artists using cute animalistic characters.The only food item I noticed on Lukes site was an Olive in a martini glass.I don't see how Kristin's work can be considered a rip off,of Luke's work at all.And RCE is quite rude for implying that it is.Very nice paintings Kristin,keep up the good work.I like them all.

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