Cynthia Plaster Caster, a fan turned artist who called herself a "recovering groupie" and was best known for creating plaster casts of rock star's erect penises, died on Thursday (April 21) at the age of 74, Deadline and Variety reported. She was born Cynthia Albritton.
The 1977 KISS song "Plaster Caster" was written about the artist, a Chicago native and early Frank Zappa acolyte who from the late '60s made penis casts of rockers including Jimi Hendrix, Wayne Kramer of MC5, Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys and Buzzcocks' Pete Shelley. Zappa and the members of KISS reportedly never submitted to the penis cast process.
Jim Croce's folky "Five Short Minutes" (1973) was also written about her. She's further mentioned in indie-rock songs by Momus ("The Penis Song," 2001) and Le Tigre ("Nanny Nanny Boo Boo," 2004).
Her other work incorporated molds of non-music artists such as filmmakers. It later included casts of breasts, including those of Stereolab member Laetitia Sadier and Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O.
Altogether, the artist made over 100 casts, displaying them at exhibits in New York and Germany. The documentary Plaster Caster (2001) focused on her work; she also contributed to the series My Penis and I (2005). In 2010, she ran for Mayor of Chicago.
In a 2012 interview with Rock Scene, the artist looked back on her start, remembering that she was a "shy, fledgling, virginal goofy girl that wanted to get laid by cute British boys with long hair and tight pants. But I wasn't experienced or seductive, and the only way I could go about getting the zippers down was, it had to be in a goofy, funny way." (via UCR)
She continued, "Back then, during the sexual revolution, you had a social obligation to dip your dick into something new and different. And we had something different for dipping."
Plaster Caster was born in Chicago under her real name of Cynthia Albritton on May 24, 1947. On Thursday, a spokesperson for the artist said that she had died following a lengthy illness.