Black & White Self-Portriats inspired by Sugar Skulls part IV

18/1/13 – Self-Portriats with Black Paint 

So I am still taking photographs at the moment; my black and white self-portrait explore the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration and the sugar skulls from a Western / European perspective. The floral patterns are quite different as I have not seen this particular design used for the Mexican sugar skulls nor the Day of the Dead face painting. In a way, the patterns remind me of sun flowers, which does add an interesting effect to the self-portrait.


In the previous post, I have explained how my self-portrait have become a reminder of death; on the other hand, the floral patterns become a manifestation of life and nature. These two components present a very interesting juxtaposition between life and death. I have decided to take an extra step further; I have decided to ruin my design with black paint in order to present a level of decay and degradation. I have applied the black paint beneath the eyes; I’m not too sure what motivated me to experiment with the black paint, I suppose I just wanted to create a different effect.


The black paint underneath the eyes are similar to tears; it’s as if I have cried and stained the makeup that I had carefully applied to my face. I spend so long applying the makeup, it just feels very strange when I decided to destroy my design with the black paint. It is the imperfections that provides a darker, more sinister effect. To me personally, it is the imperfections that become a reminder of death and mortality.

Some of the images are fairly dark; this particular effect does have a dramatic impact on the way I view death. In the self-portriats, I appear dead or recently deceased. These images have invited me to question what happens after death? what will happen to my body after death? What will I look like if I was buried in a coffin underground? I don’t really know how to answer these questions; hopefully the self-portriats will provide some answers in relation to my own interpretations of death.

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