Scott Campbell


Tattoo Artist, Scott Campbell uses American Dollar Notes to create an Amazing Three Dimensional Skull!

While browsing the internet, I discovered the works of Scott Campbell, a tattoo artist who has worked for some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Marc Jacob’s, Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom! Campbell has exhibited his work around the world, including a skull that has been carved from American Dollar Bills. The level of detail is very impressive and I just couldn’t believe that the artist had used real dollar bills for his work!

At first, I thought the sculpture was carved from fake currency, I soon discovered that everything was real, in fact the artist has crafted the skull from $11,000 as referenced by Tafline Laylin. Campbell has meticulously placed one dollar notes one on top of the other in order to create this 60 cm installation; I wonder how much this artwork is really worth.


The dollar notes add a textural, tactile quality to the skull that emphasises the eye sockets, the nose and the jaw. The skull effectively contrasts with the rectangular box that is also made from American dollar notes; Campbell’s three dimensional skull is one of the most fascinating installations I have seen this year! The way the artist has approached the medium and the subject matter is very innovative, unique and inspiring.

I was rather shocked when I realised that Campbell has used real money for his installation; Damien Hirst has used real diamonds to create the base of the human skull although I have never heard of an artwork that has been made from dollar bills, it’s quite extraordinary to say the least! I discovered a video clip on YouTube that features Scott Campbell’s work; the installation features a skull with illustrative and decorative designs that is juxtaposed with US dollar notes. The fact that the skull is laser etched is remarkable, the actual construction of the skull is simply amazing!


Campbell’s approach to the dollar notes creates such a unique and vibrant aesthetic; the different patterns and designs within the skull creates an extraordinary composition with the American dollar notes. The illustrations also remind me of Campbell’s tattoo designs, in a way the artist has incorporated his designs into his sculptural work, where tattoo art becomes a three dimensional illustration.

The skull has become a popular symbol in various tattoo designs and it is interesting to observe the artist’s ability to transfer this particular subject matter into a sculptural art form. Now there are contemporary art spaces around the metropolitan suburbs that are promoting tattoo artists from all around the world, tattoos have become increasingly popular within contemporary art and design; it’s quite difficult to walk through the city without recognising at least one person with a tattoo.


Campbell’s work is titled, “Day of the Dead”, which I find particularly interesting, the decorative designs Campbell has used for his installation are simiilar to the Mexican hand crafted skulls that are associated with the Day of the Dead festival. The sugar skulls in particular are frequently used for tattoo designs and I have noticed so many people with at least one sugar skull tattooed to their arm or chest. The different swirls and the circular patterns within Campbell’s skull do feature similar characteristics to the Mexican sugar skulls, especially the patterns around the eye sockets and the nose.

The composition between the skull and the US dollar notes may suggest the downfall in commercialism and mass production, I’m not a hundred percent sure what the artwork represents, it’s the ambiguity and the spontaneity that makes Campbell’s work so inspiring!

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