Tag Archives: Events

Zombies, Skulls and Skeletons parade through Melbourne for the Annual Zombie Shuffle.


About a week ago, I attended the annual Zombie Shuffle in Melbourne, where thousands of individuals paraded through the streets dressed as flesh-eating zombies, skeletons and other pop culture characters. Many enthusiasts commenced their journey at the Treasury Gardens in Fitzroy and the various costume designs were extremely impressive to say the least!

The level of creativity and imagination was definitely inspiring and I began to frantically take photographs of undead, Disney princesses, skeletons, bridesmaids, nurses, surgeons, cheerleaders, policemen, convicts, school girls and many others. In fact there were so many different zombies, I didn’t know where to look next! It was great to see different age groups attending the event; children were dressed as Zombies along with their parents, while others brought their dogs along for a leisurely walk through Melbourne.


During the event, I noticed several attendees mixed amongst the gore and the simulated blood with skulls painted onto their faces. I began to ask myself whether the skull is still a popular icon within the contemporary visual culture or everyday life in general?

From a personal point of view, the Zombie Shuffle allows the public to explore the concept of death within a satirical or entertaining manner. The event encourages the community to display their own creativity or imagination and it is interesting to examine the way death is represented.

There was one character in particular who was dressed in an old-fashioned outfit along with the black and white skull makeup. I raced over to take a closer look and I couldn’t stop taking photographs, this costume was definitely my favourite one! While I tried to search for a place to rest, I discovered a young woman with the most extraordinary skull makeup, the overall detail was admirable and the suit complimented the intricate design. I couldn’t leave without taking at least one photograph!


As I continued to walk through the Treasury Gardens, I recognised a green sugar skull zombie; the colours were amazing and the vibrant designs were certainly intriguing. The make up merged elements of Western popular culture with the Mexican sugar skull designs; these two particular styles provided quite a unique interpretation.

I must admit everyone who attended the Zombie Shuffle looked spectacular and the crowd was throughly entertaining! Towards the afternoon, an amazing ‘percussion group’ known as Maracatu Estrela do Mar paraded through the Treasury Gardens onto Collins street along and the members of the band were wearing black and yellow sugar skull makeup.


Enthusiastic photographs frantically joined the crowd of zombies that were leisurely following the band down the street and I suddenly began to develop the art of weaving in and out of large, overcrowded groups who began to walk or run besides members of the Zombie Shuffle.

The band in particular was definitely a highlight; I admired the vibrant, sugar skull face paint and the positive atmosphere from the crowd. Maracatu Estrela do Mar reminded me of the Dia De Los Muertos: The Day of the Dead Festival in Mexico and the band provided  a unique twist to the overall event.


As the crowd reached Federation Square, the Zombie Shuffle collided with a Women’s rights protest and I suddenly found myself in-between a completely different group all together. I would have loved to have stayed to the very end, however I lost my sense of direction and I decided to search for the nearest train station.

Anyway, the Zombie Shuffle was an exciting, exhilarating experience that featured amazing, yet gory Zombies, a fantastic band and a spectacular audience! I would definitely recommend attending the Zombie Shuffle next year for sure!

zombiewatermark31 Check out the Black Calavera Facebook page to view photographs from the event.




ABC, ‘Undead roam Melbourne Streets in Annual Zombie Shuffle,” October 11 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-11/zombie-apocalypse-arrives-in-melbourne/5806796

Skullavera showcases unique ceramic skulls at Melbourne’s Day of the Dead Festival

All the skulls in the photographs are produced by Skullavera

Last Saturday, I attended a Day of the Dead Celebration in Melbourne that featured a range of hand crafted skulls, printed t-shirts, altars, traditional Aztec dancing, Mexican street food and face painting! The event was located at the Trust Bar and Restaurant in Flinders street that was full of visitors with their faces painted as the Mexican sugar skulls, it was fascinating as there were so many different patterns and designs!

It was interesting to see how each person had interpreted the Mexican sugar skulls, some had used colourful face paint while others had decided to go with a  minimalist approach. Furthermore, I did find the event particularly fascinating as I have never been to a Day of the Dead festival in Melbourne and the event was quite different to what I was expecting! At first the venue was rather crowded, although I throughly enjoyed watching visitors passing by with their sugar skull face paint!


As I was walking through the venue, there was one stall that had captured my attention. There were a range of colourful and illustrative skulls that were displayed onto a wooden surface along with a selection of skeletal figurines including Frida Kahlo and Marlyin Monroe. These hand crafted skulls featured elaborate and decorative designs that are quite unique compared to the other ceramic skulls that I have seen throughout the city of Melbourne.

These incredible hand crafted skulls are produced by a company known as Skullavera that is currently based in Sydney, Australia. BME Melbourne have conducted an interview with the artist who explains that the skulls are inspired by Chicano / latino tattoo designs as well as “the Mexican Drug Cartels.” 1 Each skull features a completely different style, there were so many different patterns, designs and illustrations, in fact the stall at the Day of the Dead celebration was definitely vibrant and decorative.


In a way, the artist applies a unique and distinctive style to the ceramic skulls, the level of detail and craftsmanship is incredible! The illustrations provides each skull with a unique characteristic, these models appear to have an individual personality, a personal style!

While there were bright and colourful designs available, there were other skulls that featured a range of black and while illustrations, the stall at the Day of the Dead Celebration in Melbourne featured some extraordinary ceramic skulls in all different shapes and sizes, I was seriously tempted to buy one for myself!

The official Skullavera blog does mention that the hand crafted skulls are inspired by the Day of the Dead celebration; from a personal perspective the ceramic skulls do feature both Mexican and European influences, there are various designs that do remind me of Western popular culture. 2 The way the skulls were displayed do feature similarities to a traditional Mexican altar that is usually installed during the Day of the Dead in order to welcome spirits to the celebration, as referenced by Maria Herrera Sobek. 3


In fact the display in general was creative and inspiring, it was seriously hard to walk past the stall without taking a dozen photos, I was in awe for at least 30 minutes, I just could not take my eyes off these hand crafted skulls! I f you haven’t seen Skullavera’s work, then I would strongly suggest to visit the Facebook page or the blog, there is some incredible work displayed online.

For those who have never even heard of this Day of the Dead Celebration in Melbourne, I would recommend buying a ticket for next year! As if you can go wrong with beer, tequila, nachos and ceramic skulls all in the same venue? While the event itself was crowded to begin with, the works on display were definitely worth seeing!

1. BME Melbourne, “Skullavera Interview”, June 28th 2013, http://www.bmemelbourne.com/bmeinterviews/skullavera-interview/ (accessed 5/11/13)
2.  Skullavera Official Blog, http://skullavera.blogspot.com.au/ (accessed 5/11/13)
3. Sobek, Maria Herrera (ed) “Altars” in Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions, Volume 1 (California: ABC – CLIO, 2012) http://books.google.com.au/books?id=bDIwZ8BieWcC&pg=PA423&dq=traditional+mexican+altars+

Other References:




Trip to Healseville Sanctuary

20130101_142039 copy

5/1/2013 – Animal Skulls at Healseville Sanctuary

Last week, I had visited the sanctuary during my trip to Healesville, a small country town in Victoria, Australia. Healesville is about an hour and a half from the city centre of Melbourne, if you are looking for trip out in the Yarra Ranges, I would recommend visiting the sanctuary. The facility features a diverse range of native, Australian wildlife and the sanctuary does preserve endangered species. The sanctuary was fairly large and it did take at least two hours to visit each section, although I did enjoy every moment of it!

20130101_143443 copy

Interactive Screen: The Comparisons between a Koala Skull and a Human Skull.

I did notice that there were a range of animal skulls that were displayed around the sanctuary; it was interesting to see of the different shapes and sizes. I also visited the rescue centre that also featured information about various surgical procedures and preservation. While the facilities were contained within a glass window, I did manage to recognise more animal skulls that were stored upon the bookshelf.

20130101_143509 copy

Comparisons between a Python Skull and a Human Skull

Within the corner of the room, there was a small screen that compared an animal skull with a human skull. It was an interactive screen that allowed each viewer to compare the human skulls with the skull of a koala or the skull of a snake. It did find the facts very interesting, but for some reason I did not write them down! Next time I visit the sanctuary, I shall write the information on a piece of paper so I can remember what they are.

20130101_143521 copy

Kookaburra Skull and a Human Skull

It was quite random, although it was rather interesting to how complex the human skull really is. While most animals do have skulls in order to preserve the most precious organs, the human skulls appears quite structured. It’s just interesting to see how different we are from other animals / species. Please stay updated, I will eventually post further research about the human skull! I think I need to take another trip to the library to borrow some more books.

20130101_143544 copy

Possum Skull and a Human Skull

For further information about the Sanctuary, please click on the link below. The Sanctuary is also apart of the Melbourne’s Zoo, it is just great to see a facility protecting native wildlife! The area does have quite a lot of space and it’s not like any other zoo I have ever seen before, the animals have the space to actually move around. The location is also worth a visit, it’s actually a relaxing place to spend a sunny afternoon!


Semi Permanent

14/9 – 15/9 – Two Days at Semi Permanent: Creative Arts Conference in Melbourne

Last weekend I attended an arts conference also known as Semi Permanent at the Melbourne Convention Centre. Over the past two days, there were some fantastic presentations from local and international artists who had explained their own practise; including recent projects, work in progress and upcoming exhibitions.

The presentations were very inspirational and each year, visitors receive an art book from Semi Permanent that features the works of arts and designers. This year the presentations featured guest speakers in art, design, photography, architecture, visual media and animation. According to the Semi Permanent website, the conference was established at least 10 years ago and the event occurs in five different counties around the world.

The presentations in Semi Permanent have provided lots of different ideas that I could experiment with in my own research project. The event was definitely worth while and I would recommend Semi Permanent to anyone who is interested in developing an arts or design career. The advice and wisdom that was provided during the presentations have also motivated me to experiment with different mediums and art forms.

All of the presenters in Semi Permanent, 2012 has displayed their work in a creative and innovative fashion through a series of images, photographs and video clips. I have listed at least three to four presenters that have inspired my project and my own work in progress.

1. Michael Leon: The first artist to present was Michael Leon who has created designs for skateboards and for large corporate brands such as Nike. According to the Semi Permanent website, Leon’s work has been displayed internationally and the artist has now become an industry professional for art and design. Leon had also displayed his skull series, that started with a few basic shapes and designs.

The artist had explained that he had wanted to see what the skull would look like with a pair of sunglasses. This particular idea had developed into a series of sculptures that were made from clay and the artist had used paintballs to cover the entire surface of each skull.

Video Clip: Michael Leon – Skulls 

The video clip was definitely very interesting and each skull has been sculpted from clay and sprayed with different colours that also creates different shapes, patterns and designs. What I find really interesting is Leon’s comments about the skull that were made during the presentation . Leon had mentioned that the skull is generic, the skull no longer has a meaning or a purpose.

I was very surprised by this comment and Leon’s presentation also displays how the skull is depicted in contemporary art and design.

Top Image: Tattoo Design / Illustration – Ian Bugsy

2. Ian Bugsy: Bugsy is a tattoo artist who presented his own style and technique. Bugsy had explained that the most popular designs that he is asked to creates are either panthers, Indians and skulls. Throughout the majority of the presentations, the artist’s designs featured skulls in different patterns and designs. Bugsy had also believed that the skull was a representation of life and death.

Top Image: Painting – JKB Fletcher

3. JKB Fletcher: JKB Fletcher creates realistic paintings that appear very similar to a photograph. I have actually attended the entire presentation, believing that the images on screen were actual photographs. I was actually amazed and shocked when the artist had presented a videos of himself creating one of his paintings from scratch. The subject matter is also really interesting and Fletcher’s recent project, “Dirty Faces”, appropriates super heroes through the application of paint.

One of the hosts had asked Fletcher why he had decided to female models, which I thought was a really interesting question. The artist had explained that he didn’t want to re-create the super heroes and Fletcher had wanted to try something different that has allowed me to identify how important it is to test different styles and mediums. Towards the end of the presentation, Fletcher had presented another video clip that has provided lots of ideas for my own project.

Video Clip: JKB Fletcher & MARFRIS – “Out” 

The video features a woman who begins to smother paint onto her neck and face that eventually begins to replicate Spiderman. The actual face painting in the video is messy that may aethetisize the materials that have been used for the project. The dripping paint also adds a very interesting effect and I like the fact that the paint is spontaneously applied to the model’s face, arm and torso. The different brush strokes and textures add a different perspective to Flecther’s paintings that may have not existed if the face paint was applied perfectly.

Top Image: Photograph – Boogie

4. Boogie: Boogie is a contemporary photographer from Serbia who has documented gangs around New York City.  The black and white photos that were presented on screen had shown images of war, violence, drug use and poverty. The images had captured the everyday from a unique perspective that confronts the viewer to acknowledge what actually happens in the real world. The Semi Permanent website also explains that Boogie has published several books and his works have been exhibited worldwide.

Semi Permanent 2012 definitely featured some interesting presenters and make sure you book your tickets for the next conference in 2013!

Semi Permanent, Melbourne 2012, http://www.semipermanent.com/event/melbourne/

Image Citations: