Fans may recognize Topher Adam from his appearance in the Haunted Mansion documentary, “Foolish Mortals.” Others may know the name from various Mansion related sites where his creepy cool, clever creations show up from time to time.
Regardless of where his whimsical wonders show up, all can agree Topher’s talents thrill scores of Haunted Mansion fans looking to add to their collection. From boo-tiful backdrops and paranormal powered photographs to 3D sculptures, Topher Adam’s treasures are to die for.
It all started with a mouse . . . pad?
For his first foray into the smoldering realm of macabre manifestations, Topher turned to twisted tales of transformation (aka dark themed photo shoots). Already and accomplished artist, as recognized by his school teachers and plying the trade of computer graphics, manipulating morbid masterpieces seemed like a perfect marriage of talents.
Who IS Topher Adam?
His Haunted Mansion inspired backdrops and artwork is the must-have of many an at home imagineer striving to place a bit of paranormal pixie dust to their home and office. He was, of course, the perfect inclusion for “Foolish Mortals” documentary about Haunted Mansion fans. But, where did it all start and what cemetery path brought Mr. Adam into the full moon spotlight? Inside the Magic was fortunate to connect with Topher and dig into the get the dirt on this truly talented artist.
Inside the Magic (ITM): Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.
Topher Adam (TA): My life has always been full of art, and creating, even at an early age I was more interested in what I could create. In my high school days I was in art 4 and it taught me so much of my foundation of being creative because I was able to help the teacher, help other students, and create piece of work that I don’t think I would have otherwise. From there I attended university and finished my BA in Design and Visualization. I believe my degree has given me the abilities to see my work before it’s even made. That leads me to where I am now.
You see when I was young I didn’t have any idea that you could actually have a career working as an artist for Disney. It just wasn’t something I knew about. Life lead me into doing graphic art. It seemed like the right fit, so why not. So, years of working in the industry, computer graphics, more advancement in technology, I just continued working for Corporate America doing what I believe was the right thing. Yet back in my mind, I was missing something, I have always sketched, and doodled, and done my own thing. What better thing to draw, the haunted mansion and my love for all things Halloween?
ITM: What sparked your interest in the Haunted Mansion?
TA: I was born Sept 28, 1971, Walt Disney World opened Oct 1, 1971. My first visit to the park in Florida was when I was four years old. My mum told me we went onto The Haunted Mansion, she looked at me as I stood up in the “doombuggy”, big eyed gazing back and forth at everything that was going on with my mouth open. She wasn’t sure if I was scared or amazed. Now she giggles and say’s she never thought a ride like that would change my entire life. Every big anniversary I attended for my birthday, eeek, the next is the big 50. But for me to share a birthday celebration with the park, and The Haunted Mansion (FL) I have always taken it upon myself to just assume it was meant to be and it’s the best place for me to celebrate my life, and love and affection for such a wonderful attraction.
ITM: How long have you been working your macabre magic?
TA: I have always felt drawn to the darker things, as a young child I was delicate, and different and my father didn’t care for that and I was a physically abused child and to escape that I created a fantasy world within to find peace, living in abuse you tend to close yourself up and do everything you can to hide the reality and the pain you experience as a child.
I always reflected on the whimsical magic of the Haunted Mansion, silly ghosts, spirits, playful spooks. Or I would find myself drawn to halloween as an escape. Growing up and being a youth drawn to the darker side I would volunteer to work haunted houses, I would draw funny creatures and characters, and it was so colorful in my mind that the macrabe wasn’t scary for me, it was amusing, and it was deep, and it has more story for me that I found that it was suitable for my life’s experiences.
I have a saying, “there is more light in the dark, because that’s where your imagination will spark.” You can see it in my work, even though it’s dark in some peoples eyes, it’s bright and colorful in my work. I love bringing out the darkness with bright vivid colors and the essence of oras and spirits with colors that we overlook in our conscious state of living. The dark was my safety and my security blanket during those hard times of growing up.
ITM: What was/is the most challenging creation for you?
TA: I’d have to say the moment I decide to create the Haunted Mansion Corridor of doors miniature door replica. It was a wonderful idea that went south from the beginning. One day it dawned on me, I had a 3D printer, why not make it a miniature and print it for fun. Then I thought OMGHOSTHOST, why not offer it to others who love the mansion.
I was told that my [initial] model was wasn’t constructed correctly. I reached out and hired someone who said they could fix it for me and it would cost me $1,500. I agreed thinking it would be an awesome investment and I wanted to see it printed being the mansion addict I am. So, months went by until we almost reached six months. Where is it, why are you not done” All these questions, and the “3D Artist” hadn’t worked on it at all. Frustrated and way over schedule on this I took back my power, filed a claim on the artist, and decided to dive in head first and master the 3D modeling the right way. Which I should have done the first time. A month later and a lot of pulling chunks of hair out of my skull, we got it done, sent it to a professional printer ($2,800 later, we had our first print).
But it was all wrong, they has printed it all wrong and the model they decided to use wasn’t the right model they received the one from the original 3D artist. OMGHOSTHOST what am I doing. But I had clients who had prepaid for this sucker and I had to make it happen. We did a test print, $250 (2” print) and approved it, another print of the door $180 (Discounted) and we had our final door that was perfect. Now this hobbyist needed to figure out how to mold and cast this door. Never did that either, but I had to let go of fear, and walk straight into this new medium and accomplish it. Without any help, I did it, somehow I magically was guided it was right and I started to fill these orders. Needless to say, I don’t allow anyone other than my partner to help me with my models and printing, we have our own in-house printing facility for prototypes, and a studio to mold and cast our collectibles. It’s one thing to be taken for a ride, but when you are new and taken for a ride of that much money and time, you start to invest back into yourself and master things you never thought possible before. So, we make everything here, no one else does it, we are a two person factory but I wouldn’t change it, its all made by me and signed by me and as an artist that’s more rewarding because I know the my quality and craftsmanship is how I expect it to be through and through.
ITM: Which works of art are you most proud of?
TA: I absolutely LOVE, my Haunted Scenes series. Our first release was the “Hattie Scene.” I thought what better way to display our favorite collectibles we purchase from the Disney parks then to build small vignettes for them to be on display everyday. Disney was releasing all these amazing Haunted Mansion ornaments and I start thinking of how I would display them. So I came up with this series and I created environments for all the ornaments like this. Hatbox Ghost, Madame Leota, The Ghost Bride, The Hitchhiking Ghosts, and last but not least the Singing Busts. Each of the ornament sets will have their own scenes to display like you do when you display Christmas towns.
ITM: What’s next for Topher Adam?
TA: One of the most exciting projects I have been invited to be part of is the Haunted Manson’s 50th anniversary “A Swinging Wake” produced by Haunted OC. I have not only created the branding and look and feel. I will be playing a pivotal roll in the decor and how we transform this venue into our favorite home for the recently departed. This event will be so magical, and to be part of something that I celebrate daily, I can’t imagine topping it. To be allowed to interpret our beloved Haunted Mansion through my art and magic is beyond me. The event is on Sept 28th, and is Haunted Mansion related, and my birthday, it’s almost unreal how I get to be part of this. I am so lucky and blessed to be the artist I am today. You can also get to know more about my love for the mansion in the documentary “Foolish Mortals.” Released 2017.
ITM: Where can ghost fans find your fiendishly fun fascinations?
TA: I am mostly available online, my work is always scattered around facebook as I love to create art for Mansion group pages, t-shirts and other collateral. I will be attending this years Midsummer Scream’s ode to the Haunted Mansion and will have a booth with my collectibles. You can also find me online on what I hope to become the biggest fan art collective. If you are a fan artist and need a platform, please reach out to find how we can celebrate your work by sharing it with a likeminded community. Then i’ll have a booth at the Swinging Wake party September 28th 2019
It has been a true ghoulish delight to discuss drop dead amazing accomplishments and artistry with Mr. Topher Adam. His deliciously dark décor and tomb-worthy treasures continue to inspire and amaze. Of course, he was as tight lipped as a corpse when asked about future phantom fun.
“OMGhosthost I can’t tell you all my secrets, blahahahaha. I have so many projects on my list that I find that haunt me everyday they all want to be produced. I wish I could just create them, have them all made. Wow, wouldn’t that be a dream come true. But you know that it will be focused around our favorite spooks.” Topher Adam
Until those haunting projects find a new un-life, Haunted Mansion and dark art fans will have to settle for the lavish library of spooky-boo bounty found on his web store. Foolish mortals wishing to conjure an appearance by Topher Adam should contact Fandom Productions (310-986-9220)
Source and images Topher Adam