Category Archives: Advertising / Product Design

Clip Ziyan by Yaman Okur, Emilie Capel and Harold Sangouard

“Clip Ziyan, performance by Yaman Okur / Emilie Capel, Armchair by Harold Sangouard, Chief Operator, Charles Sautreuil, Tommy Pascal” – http://www.harow.fr/

Today I encountered a creative, yet remarkable concept that I’m just dying to share! I’ve recently discovered a stunning black and white video clip featuring a very modern, innovative style along with a geometrical skull shaped armchair by Harold Sangouard aka Harrow.

This 4 minute video clip titled Clip / Zyan features two incredible dancers /  choreographers known as Yaman Okur and Emilie Capel who have created a very inspiring performance along with Chief Operator, Charles Sautreuil as well as the realisation behind the project, Tommy Pascal.

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From a personal perspective, the visual imagery is minimalistic and the empty space intensifies the relationship between the two dancers, as well as the geometrical armchair. The overall composition is very intriguing, as the light from the window illuminates the chair’s sharp or angular structure.

The light isn’t sharp or overpowering, although these particular elements have produced some very soft shadows that provides a dramatic, sensual appeal to the overall performance. While the visual aesthetics are captivating, the music compliments the overall style and the dancer’s fluid movements.

There is limited information in regards to the concept or the relationship between the two dancers within the video clip; one could argue that the storyline is intentionally ambiguous or mysterious. I’ve often struggled to interpret the video clip, as the overall performance is highly conceptual and abstract.

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In my personal opinion the dancer at the beginning of the video clip is missing the person he loves, perhaps he recently experienced a breakup with his girlfriend or perhaps the women he loves recently passed away. The dance performance may expose the dancer’s memories or past experiences, these are just my personal interpretations anyway.

The music (Little Ending 86) is another interesting component that intensifies the mood and the atmosphere within the performance. Throughout the video clip, the skull shaped armchair is positioned within the background and I’ve wondered whether the chair has a symbolic connection or representation in terms of the performance. Does the chair signify death’s permanent presence? Clip Ziyan is difficult to apprehend, as there is limited information online, however one could argue that the video encourages the audience to interpret or articulate the overall meaning.1

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The armchair provides a unique element to the project / video clip that subtly compliments with the elegant, yet conceptual peformance. Harold Sangouard designed and produced this wonderful skull shaped chair with ‘resin, fiberglass and a steel internal frame’ as referenced by the artist’s website.2

Skullspiration have published another fascinating article relating to Sangouard’s creation and the chair is described as, “elegant, edgy and mysterious.” If only I had the chance to sit in this marvellous armchair, I would have to be dragged from it; in fact, the chair is transformed into such a remarkable piece of furniture.3 I agree, the chair features a classical, yet contemporary style that successfully establishes a very creative aesthetic within the video clip.

The clip incorporates contemporary dance and interior design in a progressive, dynamic and contemporary context. I would definitely recommend viewing this sensational performance! Click on the links below for further details.

References

1.Clip Zyan, http://www.harow.fr/ziyan.htm

2.http://www.harow.fr/

3.Skullspiration, “Skulls Armchair by Harold Sangouard, Nov 29 2013http://www.skullspiration.com/skull-armchair-harold-sangouard/


Unique Sugar Skull Tea Spoon by Hundred Million Features a Captivating motive.

skullspoonmainbannerSugar Skull Spoon by Hundred Million

I never thought I would find a spoon in the shape of a skull, although Facebook has proved me wrong! Allow me to introduce this very fascinating sugar skull spoon by Kelvin Dodds who operates a design studio based in London known as Hundred Million.

According to the East London Small Business Centre, Dodds created a Kickstarted campaign in order to raise funds for this quirky, yet inspiring design. I’ve recently discovered this intriguing sugar skull spoon through a stream of Facebook comments, although this isn’t just an ordinary spoon that you can find in your local supermarket, this particular design has a really captivating motive.

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While I do admire the overall style, I began to question the practicability and the usability, as there are three holes within the middle of the spoon that represent the characteristics of a human skull including the eye sockets and the nose. In reference to the Kickstarter campaign, the spoon is meant to encourage the consumer to add less sugar to their tea or coffee. Now I get the idea, this is a tea-spoon is designed to minimise your sugar intake, I just couldn’t imagine using the spoon for an actual meal.

Now this is quite an innovative idea, I could do with the will power to eat less sugar and now I know there is a spoon that can assist with my ambitions, what more could you ask for in life! At first, I wondered whether the person using the spoon would need to balance or rearrange the sugar into a specific place, as there are holes within the spoon that could easily cause the contents to fall back into the container. In reference to Dodd’s Kickstarter campaign, this particular spoon would make a fantastic novelty or collectors item for all those skull admirers out there.

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However, the shape of the spoon is highly creative and the packaging is very stylish and professional; the mugs have definitely captured my attention and the stylised patterns do feature an artistic aesthetic.

The sugar skull spoon has accumulated a large audience through various social media sites including Facebook and Twitter and the Kickstarter campaign has raised £45,076, which is an amazing achievement! Dodds has managed to create a quirky, yet stylish creation that features a very interesting objective, if you need one of these fantastic sugar skull spoons in your life, just click on the link below.

http://www.hundredmillion.co.uk/

References

Kickstarter, “Sugar Skull Spoon by Hundred Million” (Accessed 17/3/15) https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hundredmillion/sugar-skull-spoon

East London Small Business Centre, “East London’s Kickstarter Wiz Kid” (Accessed 17/3/15) http://smallbusinesscentre.org.uk/portfolio/east-londons-kickstarter-wiz-kid/

Hundred Million, “Skull-Shaped Tea Spoons Encourage You To Use Less Sugar,” Bored Panda (Accessed 17/3/15) http://www.boredpanda.com/sugar-skull-spoons/


Skeletons promote diversity in an uplifting campaign, “Love Has No Labels”

Promotional Video by the Ad Council

Today I just discovered the most inspiring, yet heartwarming promotional campaign by the AD council that delivers a very powerful message to the wider community locally and internationally. This remarkable three-minute video, “Love Has No Label” features a range of skeletal figures behind a X-ray screen embracing one another and the overall campaign tackles some of the biased assumptions regarding ‘sexual orientation, same-sex relationships, age, race and disability,’ as referenced by Amy Lewis from the Dailymail.1

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This is such a uplighting campaign that does raise some very significant concerns regarding our prejudices or preconceptions. According to Cameron Keady, “the skeleton is a symbolic reminder — simply put — we’re all human, despite our varying identities.”2 I agree with Keady’s comment, while we may have our differences or discrepancies, the X-ray screen becomes an expression of humanity, we are human inside and out.

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The skeleton is used to create a remarkable campaign in order to promote diversity that has captured the hearts of the audience as well as millions of viewers worldwide. Katie Richards from ADWeek explains that the campaign has accumulated “more than 11 million views, 50,000 likes and 100,000 shares.”3 This is quite an astonishing number that demonstrates the impact of social media and viral advertising. The campaign was installed in Santa Monica on Valentine’s Day and the video has established an ongoing debate amongst a range of non for profit organisations including the media and the online community.

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I’m fascinated with the intention behind the promotional video and the Ad Council have suggested that “we do 98 per cent of thinking in our subconscious mind.”5 This particular type of thinking may produce assumptions or biased opinions that may impact the way we communicate with others. Amy Lewis cites the Ad Council who suggest that “Many of us unintentionally make snap judgements about people based on what we see – whether it’s race, age, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability.”4

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Overall the skeleton has become a very powerful form of communication that successfully unites friends, families, partners, couples, parents and siblings in this delightful, yet captivating campaign. Skulls and skeletons don’t always have a scary or frightening connotation, they can be used to promote something quite positive or uplifting.

References

http://lovehasnolabels.com/

1.Amy Lewis, “Same sex couples, inter-racial love and pensioner passion: Moving video uses SKELETONS of people kissing behind an X-ray screen to challenge prejudice,” 5 March 2015, The Daily Mail Australia, 2014 (Accessed 7/3/15) http://goo.gl/jPwy6x
2.Cameron Keady, “Giant X-Ray Screen Erases Gender, Age, Race To Prove ‘We Are All Human,” 3 March 2015, The Huffington Post (Accessed 7/5/15) http://goo.gl/VhzJXg
3.Katie Richards, “Ad of the Day: This Beautiful Ad Council PSA Reminds Us We’re All Human Underneath,” March 3 2015, Ad Week, (Accessed 7/5/15) http://goo.gl/f2sgFK
4.The Ad Council, “The Truth About Bias and Prejudice,” 2015 (Accessed 7/5/14) http://lovehasnolabels.com/about-bias

5.Amy Lewis, “Same sex couples, inter-racial love and pensioner passion: Moving video uses SKELETONS of people kissing behind an X-ray screen to challenge prejudice,”


Skulls for Valentine’s Day

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Heart of Skulls: Catacombs Paris by Photography Trey Radcliff

Today is Valentine’s day and I’ve decided to list a range of interesting designs / 3-dimensional works that I’ve discovered this week. Who wouldn’t enjoy a skull shaped love heart or a box of delicious chocolate skulls? Well, I would definitely enjoy anything related to chocolate and skulls, this is the perfect combination! So here is a short list featuring my recent discoveries, enjoy! The post reveals three different designs or works that have depicted the skull within an artistic format for Valentine’s day or love in general.

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#1 Noah Scalin: Happy Skullentine’s Day

The name summaries the work perfectly! Noah Scalin has transformed this bright, red chocolate box into a skull and the colours are just magnificent. I would just love one of these skull chocolate boxes for myself as a souvenir. Scalin has created a project known as, Skull-A-Day and the artist has created a series of skulls from everyday materials or objects.1

According to Scalin’s blog, the project emerged in 2007, where the artist decided to produce a skull per day for an entire year or 365 days. If you’re a skull enthusiast, I would highly recommend following Scalin’s blog, Facebook or Twitter page. There are so many creative and inspiring designs to go through; during the second year of the project, Scalin received submissions from dedicated followers or skull enthusiasts on a daily basis as referenced by the artist’s blog.2

This particular work was created in 2008 for Skull-A-Day, which is quite a long time ago, although I do admire the artist’s dedication towards the project. It’s quite amazing to see Scalin’s work develop into an Internet sensation and the artist has created a book dedicated to this wonderful project that you can purchase online. Click on the link below for further details.

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#2 Joshua Harker: “Til Death do us Part”

These 3-dimensional works are admirable and the overall meaning / significance is very captivating. These intricate sculptures feature the characteristics of a skull within the shape of a love heart that are juxtaposed with an arrow, an anchor and a ring.

According to Joshua Harker’s website, the project represents the “bittersweet experience of love and loss,” and the skull becomes a reminder of death, the end of life as well as “living in the present.” All the elements have a relevant connection to these significant ideas / concept and you can read the statement through the Harker’s website.3

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Harker uses 3D printing in order to construct his detailed, yet imaginative works that are transformed into a three-dimensional object and the process is explained in further detail through the artist’s webpage.4 Harker’s work is inspiring and the intricate patterns / designs provide an artistic perspective in regards to love, death and mortality.

You can purchase these wonderful works through Harker’s online store and I must admit, these sculptures would make a beautiful gift for Valentine’s day! In some of my previous posts, I have discussed the works of Joshua Harker, click here to view Part I and Part II. While Harker’s design is fastidious and technical compared to Scalin’s work, I do admire the overall production behind the 365 Skull-A-Day project including the skulls, the blog and the social media sites; it was rather difficult to decide which one to discuss fist, as Harker and Scalin produce some marvellous work!

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#3 Vegan Treats: Fatally Yours

While I was searching through the Internet, I discovered a very interesting company known as, Vegan Treats who have produced a range of intricate chocolates featuring the shape of a skull that also includes a pair of hands, torsos, skeletal bones and coffins. This isn’t your ordinary box of chocolates!

According to the Vegan Treats Website, the company was founded by Danielle Konya who began to create a range of cakes and desserts that are vegan and “cruelty free.” Konya’s deserts attracted attention from “NYC, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia” and Konya has won various awards for the ‘Vegan Treats Bakery.’ This is quite a remarkable achievement, as the deserts don’t contain any milk, eggs or butter.5

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Personally, I haven’t tried any Vegan desserts, although I’m constantly advised by friends and families that they taste delicious. I do prefer consuming chocolate that’s made from milk or other animal byproducts, although I’m willing to try these Vegan Chocolates, as I would love to see these intricate, eligible skulls in person plus I would love to try these chocolates in order to develop my own opinion.

In regards to the product design for the chocolate box, I personally believe that the gold clashes with the black, although the chocolates feature a very creative, yet fascinating style that does make me feel hungry from time to time and that’s the most important part! ‘Fatally Yours’ would make the perfect gift for any occasion including Valentine’s day, what isn’t there to love about skulls and chocolate, the thought is just too overwhelming for me. Skullspiration have published a fantastic article in relation to Konya’s vegan treats that’s definitely worth viewing as well.

So here are my top recommendations and I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Valentine’s day, I shall return very shortly with another skull related post, bye for now!

References

1.Noah Scalin, “247 Valentine’s Day,” Feb 5, 2008, (Accessed 14/2/15) http://goo.gl/StcrXV
2.Noah Scalin, “About,” (Accessed 14/2/15) http://skulladay.blogspot.com.au/p/about.html
3.Joshua Harker, “Til Death Do Us Part,” (Accessed 14/2/15) http://www.joshharker.com/blog/?page_id=3066
4.Joshua Harker, “About,” (Accessed 14/2.15) http://www.joshharker.com/blog/?page_id=2
5.Vegan Treats Bakery, “About Us,” (Accessed 14/2/15) http://vegantreats.com/about-us/


Top Five Sugar Skull Makeup Designs

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Sugar Skull Makeup by Lindsay Hancock 

At the beginning of the year, I explored a range of inspiring, black and white makeup designs featuring the human skull. The post featured my favourite design and I briefly discussed certain patterns or styles that I find particularly inspiring. Today I thought I would briefly analyse five different sugar skull makeup designs that I admire; this task has been rather challenging, as there are so many fantastic styles or designs online. Before we get started, I thought I would briefly mention the cultural associations related to the sugar skull face painting.

Since 2012, I developed a fascination for the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival including the sugar skulls that have significantly increased in popularity within contemporary art and popular culture. I decided to conduct some additional research online, where I discovered hundreds or even thousands of photographs featuring various sugar skull make up designs.

According to Elizabeth Carmichael and Chloe Sayar, these vibrant, hand crafted sugar skulls are designed for the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration, an annual tradition featuring a range of activities, decorations and memorials that welcome the ‘departed souls.’1 The Day of the Dead is often celebrated on the 1st and the 2nd of November that reflects both European and Pre Hispanic traditions, as referenced by David Carrasco and Scott Sessions in The Daily Life of the Aztecs.2 I began to question the growing interest in the sugar skull makeup, why do we paint a skull onto our face? and why do we choose sugar skulls as the primary design?

Margo DeMello investigates certain activities and decorations that are prevalent within the Day of the Dead celebration including the skull face painting that, “one again, represent the dead symbolically.” According to DeMello, the Spanish were perturbed by the Aztec’s optimistic perceptions of death and “this is reflected in the skull imagery used by celebrants today, which universally feature smiling skulls.”3

This is their most distinctive quality, the sugar skulls are colourful, vibrant and creative; they provide a positive approach to death and the designs have deeply inspired various cultures from around the world. So here are my five favourite sugar skull makeup designs, enjoy!

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#1 Black and White Sugar Skull: Blair Earcret and Amanda.A.Hughes

As soon as I conducted my research into the sugar skull makeup / face painting, I was instantly inspired by this particular design. Blair Eacret and Akins Hughes have created an inverted skull and the overall style is very unique compared to the other sugar skull patterns that I have discovered online.

This is one creative, yet intriguing design that immediately captured my attention and the artist(s) have successfully created a very interesting perspective in regards to the sugar skulls through the use of black and white makeup or face paint. There is limited information in regards to the process and I have struggled to search for a website or a social media page. This particular design would work really well as a professional photo shoot or a makeup tutorial!4

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#2 Elvis Schmoulianoff: Vegan Makeup Artist

While I was searching through my Facebook news feed, I discovered a very admirable sugar skull design by Elivs Schmoulianoff, a professional makeup artist who sources “cruelty free cosmetics,” as referenced by the artist’s website.5

The dark lines or patterns significantly contrast with the bright, vibrant colours; these particular elements successfully create a very striking design. The yellow and the red just compliment each other perfectly and the dark outlines exemplifies the circular patterns around the eyes, chin and forehead. While the design is beautiful, the eyes or the pupils feature a sinister appearance, which provides a very unique composition.

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#3 Sugar Skull Makeup Tutorial by Lindsay Hancock

This is one incredible, yet colourful sugar skull design by Lindsay Hancock who has created a very instructional video tutorial in regards to the overall style. Hancock is a professional makeup artist and stylist from Los Angeles with an extensive modelling portfolio, as referenced by Hancock’s website.6 As I continued to watch the sugar skull tutorial, I was amazed by the different tones, pigments and gradients; they definitely add a very interesting dimension. The final result is very impressive and the photo shoot presents a very shiny complexion that compliments the colourful sequins around the eye sockets and the wig.

This is properly the most colourful sugar skull I have encountered and the style does remind me of a Barbie doll or Nikki Minaj. In one of the photos, Hancock stands in front of a bright, purple backdrop covered in glitter, although the colours are very overpowering at times; In my personal opinion, the makeup does work really well against a white / silver backdrop. Overall the tutorial, the photo shoot and the final result features a very distinctive and eclectic representation of the Mexican sugar skulls.

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#4 Sugar Skull Advertisement for Jose Cuervo

Now this particular design was a surprise discovery that caused me to stop everything completely! According to LEVINE/LEAVITT, the sugar skull make up is designed by Alex Box who has ‘collaborated’ with a very talented photographer, known as Dimitri Daniloff in order to create an advertising campaign for Jose Cuervo.7

The patterns and the gradients are very smooth / refined and the elements contrast with the monochromatic colours and the dark backdrop. There are shadows along the model’s cheekbones that definitely adds definition to the design, the actual shape appears relatively similar to the human skull. This is a very fascinating campaign that has inspired me to try the tequila for myself.

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# Royal Sugar Skull Tutorial by Jangsara

Last by not least, I present a very informative, yet interesting sugar skull tutorial by Jangsara. The site presents a list of instructions in regards to the shading, the definition and the decorations. The design is minimal compared the other styles that I have researched, although the shading around the cheekbones does remind me of the human skull. The actual shape appears similar to the skull, although the sequins do add a decorative element to the design.

While I do admire the sugar skull makeup, the roses are quite distracting and a simple, dark background would elevate the overall design. If the roses were smaller, they properly wouldn’t interfere with the main focal point. Overall the tutorial and the final result is very inspiring, creative and compelling.8

Overall, these are my favourite sugar skull makeup styles and the decision was incredibly challenging, as there are so many impressive designs to choose from. I’ll intend to create an additional post with all the sugar skull designs that I have recently discovered over the past few weeks. It would be interesting to research some male sugar skull designs as well in order to create some variation. I hope you enjoy the post and stay tuned for further updates.

References 

1.Carmichael, Elizabeth and Sayar, Chloe, The Skeleton at the Feast: The Day of the Dead in Mexico, (Texas: Texas Press Printing, 2003) p.6
2.Carrasco, David and Sessions, Scott, The Daily Life of the Aztecs, (California: ABC-CLIO, 2011) p.249
3.DeMello, Margo, Faces around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the Human Face, (California ABC – CLIO, LLC, 2012), p. 58-60.
4.MuchPics, (Accessed 12/2/15) http://goo.gl/NmNW3J
5.Elvis Schmoulianoff: Make Up, Wigs and Body Art, ‘About,’ (Accessed 12/2/15) http://goo.gl/pifYhI
6.Lindsay Hancock, YouTube, “Sugar Skull Makeup Tutorial,” 31 Oct 2012 (Accessed 12/2/15) http://goo.gl/4pBjgG
7.LEVINE/LEAVITT, “Jose Cuervo by Dimitri Daniloff,” Nov 12, 2010 (Accessed 12/2/15) http://goo.gl/CM3gJC
8.Jangsara, “Tutorial: Royal Sugar Skull,” Sept 16, 2011 (Accessed 12/2/15) http://goo.gl/Zd9qcP


Skulls, Skeletons and Tequila, Espolón has it all!

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Espolón Advertising by Steven Noble 

Espolón Tequila is one unique, innovative brand that features a smooth, delicate flavour along with a creative label that will leave a very memorable impression! As soon as I recognised the bottle of Espolón, I instantly developed to the urge to purchase a bottle for myself and the product design immediately attracted my attention. While I was tempted to try the tequila, I wanted to keep the bottle for the inspiring label / packaging.

So what makes this bottle of tequila so interesting? Well, the tequila isn’t too overpowering, Espolón does create some fantastic Paloma’s on a warm summers day, the packaging is inspiring and the overall brand features a very compelling story! The label features a range of lively, animated skeletons and the overall style does feature similarities to the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival that invites deceased family members and spirits to partake in the celebration, as referenced by Regina.M Marchi.1 I’ve mentioned these particular elements in my previous posts but I’ll briefly mention some of the most important points. If you are interested in viewing the previous posts just click on the links to Part I and Part II

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Espolón Advertising – Steven Noble

Espolón’s product design features similarities to the works of José Guadalupe Posada and there is an illustration known as the “The Calavera of Don Quixote 1910” that appears almost identical to the label; Espolon’s design presents a very distinctive appropriation that reflect’s Mexico’s cultural and historical background.2 I’m assuming that Posada’s prints would be available under ‘free use,’ this would be a very interesting area to explore or research in the next week. According to Regina.M.Marchi, Posada is an influential artist / printmaker from Mexico who produced a range of delightful prints or illustrations featuring a range of enthusiastic, animated skeletons during the 19th century.

In the illustrations, the playful skeletons partake in a range of activities or events wearing a range of outfits or accessories and Posada’s distinctive style provides a humorous perspective of death, as referenced by Marchi.3 Espolón have used these lively skeletons to advertise their tequila, although I can’t see anything wrong with this, the story does feature some cultural associations or symbology that provides context to the overall brand. Espolón delivers a level of authenticity through the packaging or product design that is inspired by one unique symbol.

espolon-revolutionEspolón Product Design / Labelling 

According to the Espolón official website, “Master Distiller, Cirilo Oropeza” created a brand of Tequila that was named after the spur found on the back of a Rooster’s heal and “Espolón pays tribute to the legendary bird so important within Mexican culture.”4 This is a very fascinating concept that has invited me to research the significance behind the rooster and Elías Domínguez Barajas in the ‘Function of Proverbs in Discourse’ explains that the rooster features a connection to “bravery, pride and confidence” within Mexican Culture.5

This is a very interesting discovery that definitely adds a level of interest towards Espolón and the brand’s overall history. While I’m interested in researching the cultural and historical associations related to the brand, I do enjoy a glass of Blanco with a slice of lime. This particular type of Tequila works exceptionally well as a cocktail or a mixed drink and I would definitely recommend Espolón if you intend to create a Paloma or an Espresso Martini.

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José Guadalupe Posada – Print / Illustration: 
The Calavera of Don Quixote, 1910

The tequila also works as a delicious alcoholic beverage just by itself with some ice and a slice of lime. While there are other brands of tequila that feature an outstanding flavour, Espolón is exceptional for the price and it’s very affordable, especially for the overall quality! So if you’re planning a dinner party and you need Tequila for a dozen Paloma’s, this is definitely the one to go for!

According to Espolon’s website, the tequila features “100% pure agave” that is created / distilled in “Los Altos, Mexico.” From a personal opinion, I do enjoy the Blanco compared the Respado that is aged for several months in an “oak barrel,” as referenced by Espolón.6 This is just my personal preference and I prefer something with a smooth flavour or texture. If you’re new to tequila, I would recommend the Blanco to start off with, if you’re searching for something with a strong, full-bodied flavour then the Respado is an excellent choice.

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Espolón features some very compelling, yet distinctive advertisements that are very admirable and the designs are created by Steven Noble. Last but not least, I thought I would briefly mention my recent discovery in regards to my statistics on my WordPress profile.

This year so far, I’ve received 482 views for my previous post in regards to Espolón tequila that ranked number six on my top posts for 2015. This is a very interesting conclusion that demonstrates Espolón’s increase in popularity. Perhaps there is a demand for skulls and tequila, it’ll be interesting to observe the statistics overtime in order to view any significant changes.

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So if you enjoy relaxing on the deck chair with a refreshing glass of tequila, I would recommend Espolón! Not only will you receive a high quality product, you’ll obtain an awesome bottle with some incredible designs including skulls, skeletons and a rooster, what more could you possibly ask for? If you love skulls and tequila, this is the brand for you.

Espolón also features a Facebook Page and a Twitter Page that is worth viewing if you wish to acquire further information! These amazing advertisements are created by Steven Noble, click on the link to view the artist’s Behance Portfolio.

References

1.Marchi, Regina.M, The Day of the Dead in the USA: The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenan (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2009) p.26-27
2.Regina, The Day of the Dead in the USA, p.27-28
3.Regina, The Day of the Dead in the USA, p.27-28
4.Espolón Tequila, “A Legend in the Making,” 2013 (Accessed 9/2/15) http://www.tequilaespolon.com/en/?age=verified
5.Barajas, Elías Domínguez, The Function of Proverbs in Discourse: The Case of a Mexican Transnational Social Network (New York: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, 2010) p.100
6.Espolón Tequila, “Tasting Notes,” 2013 (Accessed 9/2/15) http://www.tequilaespolon.com/en/?age=verified


Crystal Head Vodka: Creative skull shaped bottle becomes hard to resist!

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Photograph of Crystal Head Vodka by Charlotte Pridding 

The Crystal Head Vodka features a very creative bottle design / creation that is almost impossible to resist! I first discovered the clear, skull shaped bottles within various liquor stores throughout the city and I couldn’t resist the temptation, I decided to buy one for myself. Of course there are pros and cons, So I thought I would list my thoughts or recommendations.

The vodka itself features a smooth, yet subtle flavour that tastes delicious as a cocktail or a mixed drink. If you have a sweet tooth, the Crystal Head Vodka definitely compliments the ingredients for an Espresso Martini or a White Russian. I wouldn’t necessarily drink it straight and I prefer mixing the vodka with other alcoholic beverages; the additional flavours compliment or elevate the overall taste. The Crystal Head Vodka is expensive and I suspect that the consumer is paying for the overall design of the bottle as well as the alcohol.1

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Photograph of Vodka Bottle by Charlotte Pridding

I actually prefer the taste of the Vodka when it is mixed with something else and I didn’t enjoy drinking it straight, the flavours were very delicate and subtle, this is just my personal preference anyway. I must admit, the Crystal Head Vodka compliments certain events or party occasions and the skull shaped bottle looks great on top of the bar! I’ve developed a fascination for the story or the history behind this particular brand and I’ve decided to undertake some further research.

According to the Crystal Head Vodka Website and Dan Aykroyd, this unique brand is produced in ‘Newfoundland, Canada’ and the Vodka features a very distinctive filtration process involving “precious crystals, known as Herkimer Diamonds.”2  The product also features an elaborate distillation process that includes “peaches and creamed corn” that are combined with the “waters from Newfoundland,” as referenced by the Crystal Head Vodka Website.3

Nick Curtis from The London Evening Standard explains that Dan Aykroyd collaborated with artist, John Alexander in order to create a ‘high-quality, premium product’ with a unique bottle design that is inspired by the “Mesoamerican crystal skulls.”4

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Photograph of Actor / Comedian, Dan Aykroyd with Crystal Head Vodka. Photographer Unknown

In a commercial featuring Crystal Head Vodka, Aykroyd explains the cultural, historical and spiritual connotations that are related to overall product design as well as the shape of the bottle.5 According to Arkroyd, the product is inspired by the “13 Crystal Skulls” and the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration, the bottle features such an interesting, yet captivating background that successfully adds a level of meaning / significance to the overall product.6

I have often wondered whether I purchased the actual product for the bottle or the Vodka? At first, I was fascinated with overall product design and the bottle is such a fantastic novelty, although I was intrigued by the actual flavour of the Vodka. Obtaining the skull shaped bottle is a rewarding experience that provides an element of retainability and consumers have used the bottle both creatively and imaginatively.

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Facial Reconstruction with Crystal Head Vodka by Nigel Cockerton

I have recently discovered a range of online consumers that have used their bottles as lamps, plant pots, ornaments, decorations, storage containers and even fish tanks! There’s even a forensic artist known as Nigel Cockerton from Scotland who has used the skull vodka bottle as the base in order to ‘recreate’ a very impressive, yet realistic human face, as referenced by Skullspiration.7 It’s amazing to see what these bottles are used for and I do enjoy viewing all of these creative ideas or transformations.

Nick Curtis quotes Aykroyd who explains his recent project known as ‘Use Your Head’ that encourages a range of artists from around the globe to use the skull vodka bottle within a creative or artist manner.8 This is such an interesting campaign that has generated interest from followers or fans from around the world and the Crystal Skull Vodka Facebook Page encourages their online followers to submit photographs of their Skull Vodka bottle within an artist context.9

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Photograph by Startraks. Photo of Crystal Head Vodka & Dan Aykroyd

I have often wondered what I would do with my empty skull bottle? I suppose I’ll have to think of some ideas in the next few days. I’ve decided to take some photographs of the bottle that has provided an opportunity to experiment with the lighting and the composition.

Overall the marketing and the advertising for the Crystal Head Vodka is phenomenal and I do admire the level of creativity and craftsmanship in terms of the actual bottle design. The product features a very subtle flavour and I do prefer drinking the Vodka as a delicious cocktail, rather than drinking it straight. Retaining a skull shaped bottle at the end is an advantage and something that is worth keeping for artistic or practical purposes, although the price is slightly higher compared to the other brands. If you prefer drinking sweet cocktails or mixed drinks, I would highly recommend the Crystal Head Vodka!

References

1. Dan Murphey’s, “Crystal Head Crystal Head Vodka 700ml,” Ratings & Reviews (Accessed 28/1/15) http://reviews.danmurphys.com.au/0592-en_au/DM_710148/crystal-head-crystal-head-vodka-700ml-reviews/reviews.htm
2. Crystal Head Vodka, “Our Story,” https://crystalheadvodka.com/en/ourstory (Accessed 28/1/15)
3. Crystal Head Vodka, “Our Story”
4. Nick Curtis, “Dan Aykroyd talks Ghostbusters, alien life, and new Crystal head vodka,” 19th September 2014, The London Evening Standard (Accessed 28/1/15) http://www.standard.co.uk/showbiz/celebrity-news/dan-aykroyd-talks-ghostbusters-alien-life-and-new-crystal-head-vodka-9744065.html
5. “Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka,” YouTube Video, (Accessed 28/1/15) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKqjIv91Zx8
6.”Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka,” YouTube Video
7.Skullspiration, “Forensic reconstruction of a Crystal Head Vodka skull,” (Accessed 28/1/15)  http://www.skullspiration.com/forensic-reconstruction-of-a-crystal-head-vodka-skull/
8. Curtis, “Dan Aykroyd talks Ghostbusters, alien life, and new Crystal head vodka.”
9. Crystal Head Vodka, Official Facebook Page (Accessed 28/1/15) https://www.facebook.com/crystalheadvodka

Image References

http://blog.totalwine.com/2012/02/02/pt-2-dan-aykroyd-talks-vodka-with-total-wine-more/
http://io9.com/forensic-artist-reconstructs-the-face-of-crystal-skul-1524391326
http://www.startraksphoto.com/home.aspx
http://www.crystalheadvodka.com/news/dan-aykroyd-blows-full-steam-a-head-into-london-england
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151824863486326.1073741845.91373316325


Mike Makatron: The McDeath Burger on Smith Street, Fitzroy

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Last week, I decided to walk through Smith Street in Melbourne Fitzroy, where I discovered a piece of graffiti on the side of the wall. I immediately stopped at the side of the road and continued to stare at this vibrant and creative design.

The image features a skull along with an Australian flag, cigarette butts, piano keys, USB cables and a range of dollar notes that are enclosed within a burger bun. These items are combined with lettuce, tomato and mustard, all the elements you would normally find in a traditional beef burger.

The use of colour, shape and composition is striking, especially if you’re standing on the opposite side of the road. I was on my way to buy ice cream, however I decided to cross the road to take a closer look at the graffiti. The skull appears quite pixelated up close and the graffiti directs your gaze towards the very top of the building. From a distance the dots almost blend together to create a tonal effect, this also creates a unique perspective!

The detail is incredible and the design is quite different to anything I have seen before. I then began to wonder who designed this piece of graffiti and I suddenly recognised the artist’s tag / signature right next to the skull.

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Mike Maka aka Makatron is a local artist from Melbourne who specialises in graffiti, street art and illustration that often explores the relationship between mankind, technology and the natural world. This design in particular has questioned whether these consumable items affect our environment or our natural surroundings.

One could argue that the work reflects consumerism and mass production within contemporary western society, however the skull presents the notion of death, decay and decomposition. This creates a very innovative composition; each element appears to feature some kind of meaning or representation. I was intrigued with the connection between nature, death and commercialism; as a result I decided to search for additional information in regards to Makatron’s work.

According to Makatron’s Facebook page the design is also known as the McDeath Burger. This title definitely provides context towards the overall work, these commercial products could potentially cause death or fatality later down the track. The design directs the viewer’s attention towards each individual element and it quite difficult to focus on one specific area.

I decided to take some photographs of Makatron’s McDeath Burger and I began to search through the images on my computer. After a couple of weeks, I recognised an aboriginal flag at the very top of the burger and I cannot believe that I haven’t noticed this before. I began to question whether the flag would have any connection or association with the overall image.

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There is limited information in regards to the McDeath Burger, however the flag may represent the way the indigenous culture is used as a commercial attraction. I begin to search for all the possible meanings or explanations behind the work and this is what I enjoy the most, the McDeath burger definitely invites the viewer to consider how these material products may potentially affect the world around us.

The design bursts with colour and Makatron’s street art definitely adds vibrancy to Melbourne’s inner CBD. This is what I love about Melbourne, you can find the most extraordinary designs or creations with an abandoned alley way or the side of the street; once you go exploring, it’s surprising what you’ll actually find.

I would definitely recommend taking a walk down Smith Street to see Makatron’s design; if you live too far away, check out the artist’s website / portfolio, as there are some great designs on display!

References

http://www.makatron.com/biopropaganda/

https://www.facebook.com/MikeMakatronArt

http://mike-maka.tumblr.com/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikemaka/page1/


Compartes Chocolate: The Aztec Jungle Milk Chocolate Mole Works a Treat

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Compartes Chocolate – Aztec Jungle Chocolate Mole 

Yesterday I decided to clean the study, where I discovered a colourful and decorative box sitting on top of the desk. I was immediately excited when I realised that I have discovered a block of chocolate, although I was disappointed when I realised the box was completely empty. I began to wonder why would I keep an empty box of chocolate in the study? I admire the packaging, the various patterns and designs are very creative!

The box finally triggered my memory and I remembered receiving this amazing block of chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Honestly how can you go wrong with a block of chocolate concealed in a bright, colourful box? The chocolate was purchased from a store that has recently opened in Geelong on Pakington Street, known as the Chocolate Supply Co.

The store features a range of chocolates that are imported from influential chocolateries or businesses around the world, as referenced by the Burger Inc website. When I walked into the store for the first time, all I could smell was the aroma of chocolate, honestly it’s enough to make your mouth water! All the shelfs and the benches are filled with these amazing chocolates and it does take quite a lot of will power to walk out of the store without buying anything.

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Compartes Chocolate, Aztec Jungle – Photo Two

The chocolate I received was imported from Los Angles from a company known as Compartes that produce and distribute their own chocolate. According to the Compartes official website, the company  use high quality ingredients from South America and Los Angeles in order to create a range of delicate, hand crafted chocolates.

I received a block of Compartes milk chocolate mole known as the Aztec Jungle that also contains a range of spices. It’s quite different to anything I have tasted before and the chocolate has quite a rich flavour, it would be difficult to eat this whole block of chocolate in one go. The Aztec Jungle has a spicy, bitter taste, which is quite different compared to the standard or traditional milk chocolate that you often find in the supermarket.

For those who are unfamiliar with mole, this is often recognised as a traditional dish that is associated with the Mexican / Aztec culture. In reference to Maria Herrera Sobek, mole derives from Aztec and European traditions; the sauce contains a mixture of chocolate, chillies, nuts and spices.

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Compartes Chocolate, Aztec Jungle – Photo Three

I throughly enjoyed my block of Compartes chocolate and I remember enjoying every bite as I didn’t leave anything left behind. I am particularly fascinated in the packaging, the patterns and the designs feature similarities to traditional Aztec art.  The overall design is incredible and I couldn’t bear to throw away this colourful rectangular box; the packaging also features a pattern across the front that appear similar to the human skull. This is one of my favourite designs, the over shape and composition are quite distinctive, the patterns also remind me of a kaleidoscope.

I’m not entirely sure if the patterns are meant to represent skulls, although this would compliment the aztec theme and the nature of the packaging. If you are looking for something different, try some Compartes chocolate, I believe there are different flavours available, although the Aztec Jungle is definitely worth a try. Please visit the sites below for further information.

References

Burger Inc, “Chocolate Supply Co”, http://www.burgerinc.com/2013/11/chocolate-supply-co/

Chocolate Supply Cohttp://www.chocolatesupplyco.com.au/

Compartes, “Compartes Chocolatier Chocolates Handmade in LA since 1950”, http://compartes.com/pages/about-compartes-chocolatier

Compartes, “Milk Chocolate Mole”, http://compartes.com/products/spicy-mole-chocolate-bar-compartes

Maria Herrera Sobek (ed) “Mole” in Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopaedia of Cultural Traditions (California: ABC-CLIO) p.804


Skull Implants and Body Modification Revisited: The Latest Internet Sensation


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Jason Traeger’s Skull Implants

Hey Everyone,

I know I’ve been away for a while, although I’m back to discuss something that has gained international recognition! Over the past few weeks, I have noticed photographs across the internet featuring extreme forms of body modification including silicone and subdermal implants. In 2012, I decided to write a blog post in regards to body modification and skull implants. I discovered a photograph through the internet featuring at least two skull implants that were inserted into the back of a person’s hand. At first, I was quite shocked and the thought of having these silicone objects inserted beneath the skin just sounds excruciating to say the least.

It has been quite difficult to find the name of the person, although there are other sources on the Internet that relate these skull implants to Jason Traeger, although there is limited information in regards to this particular image. In my previous post, I also discovered a photograph of a person with a skull implanted into the front of his chest.

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Implants by Steve Haworth in Samppa Von Cyborg’s Chest –  Shannon Larratt, BME

I honestly find the stitches quite disturbing and the skull does appear sinister; I have noticed that this particular implant has become an area of interest and the photograph has circulated across the internet including blogs as well as other social media sites. I decided to take a closer look at the implants and to my surprise, I have realised that the skull is place inside a cross, I have never noticed this before!

According to Shannon Larratt from BME, these implants were created by Steve Haworth who has inserted them into the chest of Samppa Von Cyborg, a Finnish artist whose work specialises in body modification. In reference to Cyborg’s Facebook page, the artist currently works within within the UK as well as other countries around the world.

Larratt’s other article explores transdermal implants that were introduced by Steve Hayworth who is renowned for his extreme body modifications including the “metal mohawk.” This is pretty extreme, as Cyborg has metal studs inserted into the very top of his head, although I won’t go into too much detail for the moment.

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Samppa Von Cyborg – Chest Implants, BME – Tumblr 

Larratt has also displayed another skull implant on the BME Mod Blog that was inserted the back of a person’s hand, I’m not entirely sure if this particular implant belongs to Cyborg himself or whether this implant was performed on someone else. This is personally my favourite one compared to the others and the patterns do create a very interesting effect. I must admit, the implant reminds me of Edvard Munch’s Scream painting, however I have noticed that there are images displayed on the internet featuring skull implants that are placed onto the back of a person’s hands.

This appears to be quite to be quite a popular trend at the moment and I have wondered why these implants are inserted into the hand? Is this just a popular part of the body for implants? I’m not just talking about skulls either, people have  inserted crosses, love hearts, stars and even flowers. I mean these implants are inserted in various parts of the body, although I have noticed that the skull implants in particular do appear to be placed on the back of the hand.

I also discovered Cyborg’s Tumblr page with all these skull implants, however I’m not too sure whether Cyborg has inserted these implants for a client or whether these implants are inserted into Cyborg’s own body. Anyway I would recommend visiting the Tumblr page if you’re interested in skull implants or body modification.

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Samppa Von Cyborg & BME – Skull Implants in Hand

Over the past couple of years, I have noticed that my article relating to body modification and skull implants has received the highest number of views compared to any of my other posts. WordPress displays the figures for each individual post by week, month and year; the statistics have provided some very useful information.

The post has received at least 7,367 views of all time, this is significantly higher compared to my previous post relating to Kermit Tereso that received 4,989 views and My Chemical Romance that received 2,680 views. I decided to investigate the statistics in further detail in order to determine whether these implants have increased in popularity. In 2013, the post relating to skull implants and body modification received 2,202 views and this has increased in 2014 to 5,164 views. This particular form of modification has become a very popular subject that has attracted attention from Internet users worldwide.

After viewing these statistics, I began to wonder why these skull implants are so popular? I’ve received comments asking why these artists have decided have these implants inserted into their bodies and it would be interesting to find out! I suppose people are interested in something that is considered as strange or unusual. I must admit, I am particularly fascinated by the skull implants, however I am slightly perturbed at the thought of having these foreign objects placed beneath the skin. I haven’t seen anything like this before, the shape and the size of the implants are disturbing yet interesting at the same time.
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Hand Implants by Samppa Von Cyborg 

After writing my first post about the skull implants back in 2012, I believe my thoughts and perspectives have changed. When I viewed these images for the first time, I was immediately horrified, even repulsed at the mere sight of these implants. I have now viewed these images several times and I’m interested to learn more about them. I wouldn’t personally get one myself, however I’m intrigued to find out whether the skull has become a popular image  in regards to body modification.

I remember watching a television program on ABC known as Bodyshockers featuring Katie Piper who interviews a range of people with tattoos, piercings and surgical operations including body modifications. Piper meets people who regret their decisions and those who can’t wait to get their latest tattoo or operation.

In the fourth episode, Piper interviews Scott who decides to get a skull implant inserted beneath his tattoo. Scott expresses his interest in skulls and his desire to provide his skull tattoo with a ‘three dimensional effect’. The episode reveals the procedure and Scott’s arm is sliced open in order to insert the implant, I must admit this section was quite hard to watch. The show definitely provides insight in regards to tattoos and extreme forms of body modification.

The skull implants have generated interest amongst the public and it would be interesting to investigate this particular area in further detail. The statistics have identified that my previous post relating to skull implants has become a popular subject over the past couple of years and the photographs has captivated audiences internationally.

So why are these implants popular and why are people interested in them? At the moment I’m still searching for an answer, as there are so many unexplained reasons as to why these implants have attracted such a a large audience.  I’m hoping this post with answer some of these questions and I’m hoping the subject will generate some discussion, please feel free to leave a comment I would love to hear your thoughts or opinions. For more information, please visit the links listed below.

References

Shannon Larratt, “More 3D Skull Implants”, Aug 31 2012, BME Mod Blog, http://news.bme.com/2012/08/31/more-3d-skull-implants/

Shannon Larratt, “The Transdermal Implants of Samppa Von Cyborg”, July 27 2012, BME Mod Blog, http://news.bme.com/2012/07/27/the-transdermal-implants-of-samppa-von-cyborg/

Shannon Larratt, “Full Ear Reshaping by Samppa”, Oct 4 2012, BME Mod blog, http://news.bme.com/tag/3d-implants/page/3/

Samppa Von Cyborg, Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samppa-Von-Cyborg/127644570656037

Samppa Von Cyborg, Official Website, http://voncyb.org/#

Samppa Von Cyborg, Tumblr Page, Chest Implants, http://samppavoncyborg.tumblr.com/post/57625369164/samppavoncyborg-anetavoncyborg-skull-3d

Samppa Von Cyborg – Skull Implants / Hand, http://www.tattoodonkey.com/samppa-von-tattoos/2/

Scott in Katie Piper’s, Bodyshockers, “My Big Boob Hell: Episode 4”, ABC, 4/6/14

ABC, “Bodyshockers: My Big Boob Hell” 4/6/14, http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/bodyshockers/

Channel 4, “Bodyshockers”, http://www.channel4.com/programmes/bodyshockers/episode-guide