Illustrator & Artist
Killerpancake is the nom de plume I use as a 2D mixed media artist and card designer based in Pittsburgh, PA. Combining illustration and a socially informed practice, I tell stories about contemporary Appalachia and queer / femme identity with a splash of gothic aesthetic.
While I have a BFA in Art from Carnegie Mellon, my practice was built long before I entered an art studio.
My pen name is an ode to how I create. A reference to a cozy mystery audiobook title from my childhood, listening to a story has always painted pictures inside my head in a way that nothing else can. This led me to create a podcast in 2012 called The AP Collection interviewing anyone that would talk to me about Pittsburgh and creativity. These conversations became a fully illustrated 78 card tarot deck detailing the realities of “New Pittsburgh” called Bridge Witches: A Tarot Deck.
In the cards I can combine a love of portraiture and oral tradition—exploring how we talk about ourselves and the symbols used to communicate our values. A tarot deck is both a communication tool and an illustrated universe that fits into a pocket. Since creating Bridge Witches in 2016, I have built several other decks exploring mental health, queer identity, imposter syndrome, and income inequality.
I create my decks first with paper and pencil in a sketchbook and then on an iPad with Procreate. Using print-on-demand services I release extremely limited print runs of each deck for sale through my website and limited wholesale. As of March 2021 I have sold a tarot deck deck about Pittsburgh across the United States, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
Why the Occult?
Growing up after the Satanic panic of the 1980s and early ’90s in the American Bible Belt, the struggle between sinner and saint was felt daily in my then small town. While my parents were pretty chill, valuing reading and education above all else—the surrounding community expounded upon the evils of everything from short skirts and trick-or-treating to ouija boards and regular ol’ playing cards.
I became a teenager in the wake of the Columbine shooting, felt the panic unfold over Y2K, and watched the world shift dramaticlly as we marched into the 21st Century. The world I became an adult in was (and continues to be) ruled by uncertainty and anxiety.
when shit gets crazy, popularity in the Occult surges. We run from chaos into the arms of magic hoping to make it all make sense. Horror and gothic motifs are a coping mechanism to explore this anxiety. Poverty, racial inequality, and lifting the veil of white privilege are just a few themes I attempt to tackle using an iPad and Procreate.
- BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, concentration in Painting, Drawing, and Printmaking
- Vice-President of Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators, 2016-2018