Skull T-Shirts and Backpacks

8/9/12 – Pulp Kitchen

I decided to walk into a store within Melbourne Central and the retail assistant was wearing a tight fitting T-shirt with skulls. Pulp Kitchen sells a range of merchandise and fashion accessories, which appropriate the skull. From T-Shirts, sunglasses and necklaces to belts, scarfs or even lamps for the bedside table the store is plastered from top to bottom with images of the skull.

When I viewed their Face book page the first thing I recognised was an illustration of a mouse with an eye patch, which featured the skull and cross bones on the front. There are leggings and dresses on the profile, which also feature variations of the skull in different styles or colours. The brand may combine punk with retro and pop art, which provides each product with a very interesting or recent style.

Back Pack – Nightmare Before Christmas

I also recognised a student on the tram with a Jack Skellington back pack, which features several skulls in different shapes, forms, compositions and styles. It could be argued that many fashion accessories and products also appropriate the image of the skull, which also appeals to a mass audience.

This particular observation also reminded me of Disneyland in the USA, which featured an entire store dedicated to Jack Skellington merchandise from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. Almost every product or item for sale featured Jack  Skellington’s skull on the very front, which also invites one to examine how this particular representation of death has become a cultural phenomenon.

In relation to the Tim Burton catalogue from the Australian Centre of Moving Image, Ron Magliozzi, Ron He & Kate Warren clarify that Burton effectively combines dark and exaggerated characters with different styles or contexts, which appeals to different age groups.

Magliozzi also argues that Burton merges dark or morbid representations with humour and visually appealing imagery in order to captivate different age groups. One could argue that any culture, background or style can relate to Burton’s work that effectively captivates the imagination of many artists, photographers, film makers and sculptors within the contemporary culture.

Dowling, Faye. The Book of Skulls. Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2011

Magliozzi, Ron He, Jenny & Warren, Kate. “Tim Burton: The Exhibiton “. Melbourne: Australian Centre for Moving Image, 2010


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