Tag Archives: Mexican Day of the Dead

Entry into the 2013 Kodak Salon


Photograph by Charlotte Pridding, 2013

This year, I submitted one of my photographs into the Kodak Salon, a photographic competition that is exhibited at the Centre of Contemporary Photography in Melbourne, Fitzory. The Kodak Salon encourages a range of photographers to submit their own work into this annual competition, the photographic prints are exhibited at the CCP gallery for at least three to four weeks.1

The Kodak Salon is based in Australia and there are twenty different awards across various disciplines. According to the official CCP website, the Kodak Salon is inspired by a particular style used in Paris during the 1800’s, many galleries and exhibitions in France would display the artworks across the wall from top to bottom.2

There were some amazing photographs on display and there were a few artists that have incorporated the skull into their own work. I decided to submit a print I had produced at the very start of this year, the title of the work ‘reassurance’ features a photograph of myself at the beach with a skull painted onto my face.

The photo was inspired by my Honours research project that explored the growing interest in the skull within Melbourne’s urban / street culture. I started to develop an interest for the Mexican sugar skulls that I discovered in many bars, restaurants, shops and galleries across Melbourne. These colourful and decorative ornaments inspired me to create a series of black and white self portraits that depict my own personal perspectives of the Mexican sugar skulls that are commonly associated with the Day of the Dead Festival.

Once I completed my degree, I continued taking photographs of myself in various locations in order to discover my own interpretations of death and the depiction of the skull in the contemporary visual culture. I’m still searching for a specific answer, which has been rather difficult as my own personal interpretations do change on a daily basis.

I decided to enter the photograph of myself at the beach that questions what happens after death, what happens when the human body deteriorates? Does everything suddenly turn to darkness or do we move from the living world to a completely different place? It’s really hard to tell as there isn’t one definite answer, how can we define death if we have never experienced it before?

Of course everyone has their own interpretations, I’m hoping these photographs will hopefully provide the answers to all of my questions.  So that pretty much summarises everything at the moment, I’m currently working on another project at the moment that I would love to share to you all once I’ve completed everything, so stay tuned! 🙂

If you would like any further information please click on the links below.



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Ceramic Handcrafted Skulls from Amor Y Locura


Photography by Charlotte Pridding

A couple of weeks ago, I received a small graduation gift from a local Day of the Dead Store in Melbourne, Gertrude Street that sells a range of hand crafted items from Mexico. I received four ceramic skulls with colourful and decorative designs that have been painted onto the front and the back; I soon realised that the hand crafted skulls could be used as a necklace.

There are two small holes on the left and the right hand side of the skull that would allow you to create a bracelet or a necklace, I must admit the thought is rather exciting as the skulls are rather vibrant and colourful, they would compliment all my grey and black t-shirts that are hanging in my wardrobe. At the moment, I have placed the ceramic skulls on top of the television cabinet, I must admit all the different patterns and designs compliments the furniture within the lounge room, in fact the colours are so bright I just can’t seem to take my eyes off them!


The ceramic skulls are very small, they’re minuscule to be precise, although it is the actual size that provides these hand crafted skulls with some interesting characteristics. I have to hold the skull with my fingers in order to closely examine the various patterns and designs, when I am holding the ceramic skulls, I always find something different, something I haven’t noticed before. The base of the ceramic skull features quite a high level of detail for something so small; I also noticed that the hand crafted skulls also feature lively and animated expressions, all four of them seem to be grimacing or smirking.

So I’m not exactly sure who has designed these ceramic skulls, although I do know that the skulls were purchased from Amor Y Locura, a local boutique store that sells a range of Day of the Dead merchandise. The skulls are associated with the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration, a celebratory event that reunites the living with the deceased. The hand crafted skulls are often used for parades, markets, altars and other activities that symbolise Mexico’s cultural and spiritual connection with the deceased, as referenced by Regina. M. Marchi.


A couple of weeks ago, I decided to browse through a magazine known as “Latin Flavours”, the publication features various articles and reviews in relation to   authentic latin cuisine as well as small local businesses around the city of Melbourne. At the very front of the magazine, I discovered Amor Y Locura (Love & Madness) that is currently owned by Mandy Patron who is inspired by traditional and contemporary Mexican art. Patron ensures all artists receive a profit for their delicate hand crafted items that are imported from Mexico to Melbourne, Australia.

What I truly love about this store is the fact that nothing stays the same, every time I walk into Amor Y Locura, I always find a new selection of wooden, ceramic and papier-mache skulls. The store does sell a range of unique hand crafted products that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else within the city. Another thing I find particularly fascinating is the name of the business, Love & Madness reflects Patron’s own fascination with Mexico’s cultural and spiritual heritage.


Latin Flavours features a monthly magazine that is often found within restaurants, cafes and boutique stores around Melbourne, if you ever find yourself wondering around the city, I would suggest taking a copy to read, the magazine often features some very interesting articles and recipes. Don’t forget to visit Amor Y Locura the next time you are in Gertrude Street, they have a wide selection of Mexican hand crafted antiques! Please click on the link below for further information.


David James (Ed) Latin Flavours, Autumn Winter Edition 2013, published by Insubstantial Pageant p. 7-8

Regina.M. Marchi, The Day of the Dead in the USA: The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenan.  New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2009.

Blue & Orange Sugar Skull Part II


Sugar Skull and Photography by Charlotte Pridding

12/1/13 – Sugar Skull with Dark Backdrop

In my previous post, I discussed the blue and orange sugar skull that I produced a couple of weeks ago. Lucky for me, the icing sugar was completely smooth and I was able to create an interesting design without the mixture running all over the place.


I photographed the skull against a wooded table; the composition did produce some interesting textures, although I have decided to use a back drop for my next round of photographs.


The black backdrop definitely contrasts with the colourful patterns and designs. I was so focused, I had actually taken 174 photographs in total; I suppose it’s better to take lots of photographs in case there are some that are too over exposed or under exposed.

I do prefer the black backdrop; the background does work well with the colours I have used for the sugar skulls. Enjoy!

Original Skull Beads from Amor Y Locura


Black & White Skull Beads from Amor Y Locura

Photographs by Charlotte Pridding

18/12/12 – Day of the Dead Store on Gertrude Street offer Amazing Stock ready for Christmas!

The other day, my supervisor from uni had shown me these small ceramic skulls that she had purchased from the Day of the Dead Store in Melbourne. I just could not help myself, I quickly ran into the store and bought three ceramic skulls for myself; two in black and white and one in colour.

The skulls do appear to be hand crafted and the beads have proven to be very popular; I have seen many visitors within the store purchasing these small ceramic skulls. There were only a few left in stock as soon as I arrived to Amor Y Locura on Gertrude Street; an amazing Mexican store that sells a range of Mexican cookbooks, art books papier mache Skulls, hand crafted skeletons and jewellery. It’s very hard to walk into the store without buying anything, I must admit.

Colourful Skull Bead from Amor Y Locura

At first I was going to buy one skull and I walked out of the store with three, If you can leave the store without buying anything, you much have a lot of will power! Amor Y Locura do rotate their stock on a regular basis, so it is worth checking out the store for new stock. Now that I have the beads, I can now make a necklace, I just have to find a local jewellery store where I can purchase some thread.


Blue, Yellow & Grey Skull Part II


16/12/12 – Extra Photographs

So before I parted from my beloved sugar skull, I decided to take several photographs with the sunlight glaring through the window.I have already taken photographs of the skull at night time and I thought I would quick take a few extra photographs in the morning just before I caught the train up to Melbourne.  The light wasn’t as bright as I was expecting but I did manage to take some good quality photographs.


This skull was designed as a gift and the decorating does allow myself to practise with the icing sugar. I’ve just uploaded a few photographs and they’ll be plenty more to come tomorrow, so stay tuned! 🙂


Skull Bow and Bandanna from Gasoline Queen, Richmond.


6/12/12 – Day of the Dead and Skull Merchandise at Local retail store, Gasoline Queen. 

During my visit to Richmond, I had discovered a retail store on Bridge Street known as Gasoline Queen. As soon as I noticed the skulls within the colorful and artistic window display, I could not help myself, I just had to walk inside. The products on display were different from any other store I have ever seen; there were Day of the Dead skulls, hawaiian dresses and punk / rock outfits.

As soon as I recognised the skull bandanna and the skull hair piece, I immediately walked up to the counter to buy these lovely products within the store, honestly one can never have too many skulls! The hair piece is a bow that you can clip into your hair; what I do love about this item is the skull on the very front; it kind of reminds me of Day of the Dead mixed with kitsch.


I just had to buy this bow as I have never seen these products sold anywhere else around Melbourne. What really excites me about the bandanna is the fact that i have been looking for one for months and all of I sudden I found one when I wasn’t expecting, I was kind of surprised actually. So if you are looking for some original skull merchandise make sure to take a trip down to Richmond so you can see all the amazing products for sale; it’s challenging to walk out without buying anything.



This store is great for skull merchandise as well as t-shirts, dresses, skirts, high heel shoes and other fashion accessories. I also had a conservation with the lady in the store who was very enthusiastic about the Day of the Dead and tattoo art; with all the t-shirt designs and products available at the moment, I would say that tatoo art is becoming a very popular trend especially in contemporary fashion, art and design.

For more information please click on the link below to visit Gasoline Queen’s Facebook Page. I would defiantly recommend visiting this store if you are interesting in purchasing some Day of the Dead or skull related products! 


Kirsztianna’s Amazing Wall Sculptures


Winter Muertita by Krisztianna 

5/12/12 – Krisztianna’s Project

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine had forwarded some images of Krisztianna’s amazing wall sculptures via Facebook. Krisztianna is an artist who  has designed a series of sculptures that do appear similar to the Mexican Sugar Skulls. There is limited information in regards to the artist’s work, although the creations / designs that are currently displayed on Krisztianna’s website do contain similarities to the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration.


Spring Muertita 

According to the artist’s own website, there are at least four sculptures within the collection that represent the four different seasons of the year. This is quite an interesting concept and each sculpture does feature a different design; the level of detail is incredible and the bold colours are definitely eye catching. The reference to the skull face painting and the floral headdress may reflect Mexico’s cultural heritage with the dead; I remember attending a sugar skull workshop a few weeks ago and the young lady had said that flowers, especially marigolds are a significant part of Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

hd_65c0416f1a6ea923b9aa2bab9f0f78b9Summer Muertita 

What I do find really interesting is the way the sculptures / installations have been displayed, the remind me of those deer plaques that are usually mounted to the wall. Krisztianna’s work applies the Mexican Day of the Dead with some creative and innovative concepts; the overall installation / display is aesthetically pleasing and the decorative illustrations do provide a high level of inspiration!


Autumn Muertita 

Krisztianna’s work has also been posted to my friend’s blog, Possibly Useless, I would definitely recommend visiting the site if you are interested in art, design and illustration. http://possiblyuseless.tumblr.com/post/36196644776/fer1972-wall-sculptures-by-krisztianna-so


New Store in Geelong, Juggernort sells Skull printed T-shirts and Accessories

4/12/12 – Who Are Sullen Art Collective?

On one of my christmas shopping trips, a friend had introduced me to this new retail store in Geelong, Juggernort. As soon as I walked into the store, all I could see were skulls. There were skull printed t-shirts, dresses, crop tops, singlets, wallets, stickers and even corsets! Even the walls were covered with skulls along with advertisements and posters for Sullen clothing.

So what is Sullen clothing? I didn’t even know this brand even existed until I walked into this store. Sullen is an American brand that distributes a range of t-shirts and accessories for men, on the other hand Sullen Angels is designed for women, this particular brand does use the skull for the majority of their own collections and outfits. According to Sullen’s official website, the brand is inspired by tattoo art and fashion ‘subcultures’, such as “punk, rock and hip hop”. (Sullen Angel Website, 2011)

I was in awe and I had never seen so many skulls in the same room! The t-shirt designs were very creative and artistic, they’re not just a t-shirt with a skull, they actually feature various patterns, colours and compositions. I literally wanted to buy everything in the store, most of the t-shirt designs were inspired by the Mexican sugar skulls as well as the Day of the Dead face painting.

The gentleman behind the desk was also very enthusiastic and friendly to talk to, he did point out some designs within the store that I would like. I have struggled to find interesting t-shirt designs in the women’s department, now I know where to find them! The guy within the store was also interested in the Mexican sugar skulls and it was great to see all the different products, especially the t-shirts and the singlets. Sullen have also created a unique style for their own brand; most of the t-shirts combine Day of the Dead imagery with a punk / rock aesthetic.

If you are interested in skulls and the Mexican Day of the Dead, then i would recommend visiting Juggernort in Geelong or just visit their Facebook Page for more information.


Sullen Angel Official Website, “About Us”, http://www.sullenclothing.com/Sullen-Angels

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Catrina Walking the Dog

28/11/12 – New Day of the Dead Figurine 

Last week, I received a fantastic gift from a tattoo parlour in Cairns, Australia. I received a Day of the Dead figurine walking her skeletal dog, the design actually reminds me of Time Burton’s work. I have never visited the store, La Bomba Loca although the figurine has instantly become another part of my own going skull / Day of the Dead collection.

At the bottom there is a very small note that explains that the figure has been imported from Mexico and the figure has some very unique characteristics that I have not seen anywhere else.

For more information in regards to the La Bomba Loca Tattoo Parlour, please click on the link below.


Skulls in Celebrity Culture

27/11/12 – Skulls, Skulls and more Skulls!

The other day, I have discovered that the skull has become extremely popular in the celebrity culture. In the image at the top, celebrities such as Ke$ha, Lindsay Lohan and Rihanna have been photographed wearing skull printed t-shirts, dresses, tops and costumes. Lohan’s black and white dress does appear similar to Alexander McQueen’s skull printed scarf that has become another popular trend in the fashion industry.

In the image to the right, Rihanna is photographed wearing a simple black dress with a skull printed in the middle and Ke$ha appears to be wearing a glittery or sparkly costume with a skeletal figure printed to the front. It is interesting to note that all of the outfits in the image are black and white, there are no colourful or decorative patterns. Perhaps the black and white is popular is the most popular pattern / design in contemporary fashion and the celebrity culture.


Pink as a Day of the Dead Tattoo

On Facebook I also discovered a photograph of a famous motorcyclist, Cary Hart’s and his Day of the Dead tattoo that features a young girl with the Mexican skulls painted onto her face. The tattoo is well designed and the level of detail is incredible, especially the rose that is used for the hat. The tattoo appears very similar to the artist, Pink especially the bright blonde hair that protrudes from the rimmed hat.

From further research, I had realised that Cary Hart is married to the singer, Pink who has been tattooed to his own body. According to Mark Grey from People.Com, Hart had admitted to the press that the tattoo is inspired by the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico.  I must admit, this is definitely my favourite tattoo so far, although I have seen a lot of young men in the city with Day of the Dead tattoos, this design in particular must be a popular trend at the moment.

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