Tag Archives: Painting

UV and Black Light Sugar Skull Designs

UV-Sugar-Skull

#1 UV Sugar Skull Body Paint by Matt Deifer – http://goo.gl/mcsOEM

Last Week, I discussed my favourite sugar skull makeup designs that feature a range of highly creative and decorative patterns or styles. Over the past few days, I’ve discovered a series of sugar skull designs that are created with ‘ultraviolet / black light responsive makeup and body paint.’ These particular materials do create some spectacular, fluorescent patterns that provide a very artistic depiction of the Mexican Sugar Skulls.

While there is a limited number of UV or black light sugar skull makeup designs online, I’ve discovered at least ten different styles that feature a high level of detail, intricacy and craftsmanship. At first, I struggled to search for some of the artist’s names or websites and I’ve spent a good few hours searching for all the relevant information. It’ll be interesting to see whether the UV sugar skull makeup / body paint becomes a fashionable or popular trend, only time will tell. The black light and UV paint would definitely compliment your next Halloween outfit or celebratory event, you’ll immediately stand out from the crowd.

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#2 UV Sugar Skull Makeup by Krystaltips – http://goo.gl/K9r6Vv

What is Black Light Paint?

Before we get started, I thought I would briefly discuss the concept behind back lights or black light reactive paint. I initially researched UV makeup, although I suddenly discovered the term, ‘backlight’ that did create some confusion to begin with. According to Mark Chervenka, black light is another term or definition for ultraviolet light that is “invisible to the human eye.” However, the black light converts the fluorescent source into a “visible light” that features a different “wave length” compared to the lamps / electrical equipment within our households, as referenced by Chervenka.1

The black light is used for a range of creative or artistic purposes that does produce some fantastic results within a dark environment. David Cay Johnston from the new York Times explains that Joseph and Robert Switzer invented the visible, ‘fluorescent paint’ that is commonly known as Day-Glow. Robert Switzer severely injured his left eye, while he continued to unload packaged goods and he was confined to a dark space; this inspired the young chemistry student to experiment or research UV lighting.

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#3 Hybrid Black Light Sugar Skull by DRE Images – http://goo.gl/0U7sP5

According to Johnston’s article, the paint was used for the ‘warplanes’ during the Second World War that enabled the troops to “operate at night from aircraft carriers in the pacific.” The armed forces used ‘bright panels’ in North Africa in order to highlight their goodwill or friendliness to “Allied Dive Bombers.”2

David Johnston suggests, “ultraviolet light goes in and its energy is converted into visible light emitted by the chemicals in the paint, creating the bright fluorescent quality.”3 The technical procedures and the back story is fascinating; the black light paint is now used for many artistic, creative and inspiring projects including the bright and colourful sugar skull designs.

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#3 UV Sugar Skull Makeup by Agnieszka Grzelak – http://goo.gl/clKG0V

Black Light Photography

I’ve recognised many photographs that display black light or UV lighting and I began to research the actual process or equipment used in order to create these particular effects. Don Krajewski from the XOIND Studios recommends using a ‘black light’ in order to highlight the intended ‘subject’ as well as a particular material that will react to the black light. Krajewski also suggests experimenting with the manual camera settings including the exposure, ISO and lighting as well as the distance in order to achieve an artistic or stylised effect.

Krajewski’s article features some very useful suggestions or recommendations that’s definitely worth viewing if you are interested in UV / black light photography. WARNING: If you wish to experiment with this particular lighting, just be careful with the type of lights you are using, as there are certain sources who claim that UV Lighting / black lights can burn the skin, cause cataracts and radiation. Krajewski suggests UV-A lights for photography and this particular light source is often used for clubs or other specific environments; overall the article does provide some very knowledgable advice, it’s just something to keep in mind anyway.4

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#4 Whispering Ghost, Blacklight Makeup by Lotoff – https://500px.com/Lotoff

Black Light: Conclusion

The black light paint and the dark background does provide a very dramatic effect that intensifies the overall style. From a personal perspective, the UV makeup significantly highlights the vibrant sugar skull designs as well as the fine, intricate detail. Lindsay Adler suggests that people may associate black light photography to a ‘party or a rave’ and there are certain elements including motion or movement that can create a level of interest and spontaneity. If the idea is executed in an artistic or creative manner, the image can feature some outstanding effects, although the UV lighting often isolates the main subject, it just depends on the intended meaning or style.5

I began to question whether the UV sugar skulls establish a closer association to death? I personally believe that the vibrant patterns and the dark background provides a very interesting composition between life and death. The decorative designs aestheticize the concept of death and the skull becomes a subject of beauty. This is such an interesting area of discussion that I’ll investigate over the next few weeks.

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#5 UV Backlight Sugar Skull by Pieke Roelofs – http://photoandgrime.com/

Since I’ve explore the sugar skulls, the black light paint / makeup has become an area of fascination that has provide a level of inspiration. While, I’ve focused upon the history and the overall process, it’ll be really interesting to continue researching this particular subject. Here are some other designs or photographs I have discovered; this is all for now, although I shall return shortly, goodbye for now.

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#6 Brittany Couture – http://goo.gl/Tt5kHs

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#7 Duende ‘rfs – https://www.facebook.com/duenderfs

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#8 Black Light Sugar Skull Makeup by Katie Alves – http://goo.gl/zxcMdD

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#9 Lucy Chippindale – http://goo.gl/SVsj5L

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#10 TiffyQuake – http://goo.gl/IAZ89I

References

1.Chervenka, Mark, Black Light Book (Pittsburgh: The Black Light Book, 2007) p.8 – 13
2.David Cay Johnston, “Robert Switzer, Co-Inventor Of Day-Glo Paint, Dies at 83,” Aug 29, 1997, The New York Times, 2015 (Accessed 18/2/15) http://goo.gl/HWySdw

3.Johnston, “Robert Switzer, Co-Inventor Of Day-Glo Paint, Dies at 83”
4.Don Krajewski, XOIND Studio Blog, “UV or Black Light Photography,” Mar 17, 2012, WordPress Blog (Accessed 18/2/15) http://goo.gl/D4aSN7
5.Adler, Lindsay, Creative 52: Weekly Projects to Invigorate Your Photography Portfolio (San Fransisco: Peachpit Press, 2014) p.77


The Works of Lora Zombie Present Vibrant Colours, Inspiring Designs and Skulls

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Girls Loves Skulls – Lora Zombie

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been particularly interested in Lora Zombie, a painter / illustrator from Russia who has created a series of colourful, eclectic designs that are combined with influential icons and pop culture references. At first I was amazed by the artist’s intricate style including the high level of detail or craftsmanship as well as the dripping paint that oozes towards the bottom of each individual painting / illustration.

According to Lora Zombie’s official website, the artist is internationally renowned through various social media platforms, blogs and exhibitions within Russia and the United States. I decided to search through Lora Zombie’s inspiring online portfolio and I have recently discovered that the skull is a popular symbol within the artist’s work.

Zombie’s illustrations are often categorised as ‘grunge art,’ however there is limited information in regards to this particular style, this is definitely something I’ll have to research later down the track; from a personal perspective, Lora Zombie’s work features a similar appearance to graffiti art.

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Puppies and Skulls – Lora Zombie

‘Girls Loves Skulls’ for instance features a young girl embracing a large multicoloured skull within the centre of the image. This is one of my favourite illustrations by Lora Zombie; the combination of vibrant colours and paint splatters create a remarkable, yet dynamic style that successfully delivers a playful, optimistic approach towards death and the human skull, this is just my personal point of view anyway.

The visual aesthetics provide a level of curiosity and fascination; the skull in particular becomes a significant focal point that instantly attracts the viewer’s attention. The bold, vibrant colours compliment the contour of the skull as well as the young girl on the left hand side; her plain white dress along with her black, knee-length socks provides a dramatic composition with the other elements within the image.

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Pugs and Skulls – Lora Zombie

The young girl appears to be rather excited or pleased to be holding this multicoloured skull that features a rather concerned expression. The refined detail definitely provides the subjects with a unique personality that are emphasised through the loud, vibrant colours as well as the harsh brush strokes.

There is another work in particular that has captured my attention; Lora Zombie’s ‘Puppies and Skulls’ is colourful, playful and absolutely gorgeous! The name summarises the work pretty well, this illustration features at least three colourful skulls that are surrounded by a range of adorable puppies, this is such a cute, yet artistic combination.

‘Pugs and Skulls’ also features a similar style and aesthetic; the work features a pile of small multicoloured skulls that are integrated with a crowd of energetic puppies, this is just too adorable! I could honestly write about the artist’s work for hours, as I thoroughly enjoy the humorous, yet comical twist within these imaginative designs. Overall, Lora Zombie’s work delivers a high level of creativity and innovation that is combined with a lively, yet vivacious characteristic.

If you would like to view Lora Zombie’s portfolio or website, just click on the links below.

References

http://lorazombie.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LoraZombie (Images from Facebook)

http://lora-zombie.tumblr.com/

http://instagram.com/lorazombie

https://www.threadless.com/made/lora-zombie


Jessie Riches Part II

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Vampire Girl, Jessie Riches

A few months ago, I discovered the works of Jessie Riches while I was walking through the shopping centre in Geelong. Ok I know this is a pretty strange place to find an artwork, although I have recognised a painting by Jessie Riches in the front window of a book store. I’m not entirely sure whether Riches artwork was reproduced for display purposes, although I must admit the painting featured some extraordinary colours and designs.

The painting features the skull and cross-bones juxtaposed with a dark green background along with decorative patterns and designs. I would always walk past this particular book store and I always wondered who had actually created this painting / design, one day I decided to actually stop at the front window and I recognised Jessie Riches’s signature at the very bottom.

Unfortunately I have taken a photograph with my old phone and for some reason I never saved the actual image. Anyway, I decided to research Jessie Riches on the internet at home and I discovered that the skull was a popular image within the artist’s work. According to Riche’s website, the artist has worked with watercolour, acrylic, pencil, digital media and graphic design, Riches is also a tattoo artist and I have realised that these particular designs do provide a unique aesthetic.

In a way, Riches has merged her tattoo designs with her graphic / digital art, Riches’s “Vampire Girl” for instance, features a rather obscure character who is composed with two cartoonish skulls that are placed within the centre of the image. The remainder of the image features intricate patterns and designs that creates a strong contrast with the mysterious character; the juxtaposition between the rose, the skull and the tombstones may symbolise the border between life and death.

The illustration also reminds me of tattoo art especially the juxtaposition between the skull and the rose; these two particular designs do appear very popular within the tattoo industry; I must admit, most of the tattoos I have seen either feature a rose, a skull or a dragon. Riches work also features very strong, vibrant colours that emphasises the detail within the background, such as the graveyard and the tombstones.

In fact Vampire Girl does feature a high level of detail, each time I view this particular illustration, I always find something interesting or fascinating. There is an obvious connection between the vampire, the graveyards and the skulls, although I do not fully understand how the rat or the tarot / playing cards relate to the other elements within the image. Actually this is a good thing, if everything was obvious there would be nothing new to discover, the ambiguity invites me to take another closer look at Riche’s artwork.

The visual aesthetic, the subject matter and the meaning is surreal, even the vampire’s long pointy ears and her sharp teeth feature very surreal characteristics. Jessie Riches’s has produced some extraordinary work and some intriguing designs; I would recommend visiting the artist’s website for more information. If you would like to read the first half of the story, please click on the link below/

http://www.jessieriches.com/

https://skullsproject.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/jessie-riches/


Andrea Benge

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Everybody Wears a Crown – Andrea Benge

Amazing Skull Paintings by Andrea Benge

While I was browsing through the internet, I discovered the works of Andrea Benge, a contemporary artist who works with watercolour and coloured pencil. I have noticed quite a lot of skulls within Benge’s work and the colourful illustrations adds a stylised aesthetic that I do find visually interesting.

The style and the subject matter within Benge’s paintings also reminds me of tattoo art; in fact these particular artworks would make amazing tattoo designs! These paintings are very similar to the  designs I have seen displayed within the tattoo parlours across the city.

In “Everybody Wears a Crown”, Benge has juxtaposed the skull wearing a multicoloured crown along with colourful paint strokes and paint splatters that adds a very interesting effect to the overall image. In a way Benge has combined beauty with morbidity through the artist’s technique; the paint strokes deliver a vibrant and decorative appearance that contrasts with the grimacing skull within the very centre of the artwork.

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In Depth of Grief – Andrea Benge

What fascinates me about this particular artwork is the paint that seeps from the eye sockets; in a way the skull appears to be crying and the paint distorts the original context or symbolic meaning behind the skull.

“The Depth of Grief” is another painting by Benge that features decorative patterns and swirls on the forehead of the skull that is juxtaposed with a blue rose; the designs are very similar to the colourful hand crafted skulls from the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration. During the festival, celebrants decorate wooden, ceramic and papier mache skulls that establish a reunion between the living and the deceased.

The painting also reminds me of the Momento Mori, a 15th century art style that confronted a person with their own mortality. The skull was often juxtaposed with clocks, hour glasses and other still life objects; in a way Benge’s work is a contemporary version of the Momento Mori!

These two particular artworks are my favourite from Benge’s collection, they’re bight, they’re colourful and they have skulls, what more could you ask for!

For more information please click on the link below.

http://www.andreabenge.com/

http://babydollb.deviantart.com/


Jessie Riches

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3/12/12 – Mexican Sugar Skull by Jessie Riches

While walking through the Geelong shopping centre, I had recognised a painting from a local artist known as Jessie Riches who has painted the skull and cross bones with bright, vibrant colours and intricate patterns. The painting is currently displayed in the front window of a book store in Geelong Westfield, from my most recent visit, I decided to undertake some further research into the artist.

Jessie Riches is a local artist in Geelong and her website explains that the artist specialises in painting, design and illustration. Riches bio also mentions that the works on display are inspired by tattoo art. When I viewed Riches work for the first time, the use and colour as well as composition did remind me of tattoo art.Riches work also reminds me of pop art surrealism, the bold patterns and the vibrant colours definitely provide the artist’s characters with unique characteristics.

While searching through the artist’s website, I did come across a painting / illustration of a young woman with the Mexican Day of the Dead skull painted onto her own face. This work in particular presents certain elements from the Mexican sugar skulls that is quite distinctive from all the other paintings, illustrations or photographs I have seen. The face paint is quite subtle and the patterns do compliment the roses that appear to have been tattooed to the woman’s neck.

The different colours and the patterns definitely captures my attention, to me the painting presents a unique juxtaposition between tattoo art and the Mexican Day of the Dead. If you are interested in Riche’s work, please click on the link below to visit her artworks.

http://www.jessieriches.com/

 


Michael Zavros

23/8/12 – Phoebe is Dead/McQueen, 2010

The other day I was introduced to the works of Michael Zavros, a contemporary artist who has appropriated Alexander Mcqueen’s skull printed scarfs. According to Adam Fulton from the Sydney Morning Herald, Zavros has painted an image of his daughter whose body was covered with the scarf from Mcqueen’s popular skull collection.

Fulton quotes “For his five-year-old daughter, Phoebe, it was a just a game. But Michael Zavros’s inspiration for painting Phoebe is Dead/McQueen, for which he has won $150,000 in Australia’s most lucrative portrait prize, was deadly serious” (Adam Fulton, 2010)

In response to the article, Zavros painting may reflect how Alexander McQueen’s skull collection has inspired contemporary art and design. McQueen’s innovative designs have survived long after his death and one could argue that the skull printed scarfs have become an internationally recognised symbol.In Zavros’s painting, McQueen’s scarf cover’s the model’s motionless form that is also positioned against a pale white backdrop. Zavros confronts his own anxieties surrounding death through the skull printed scarf.

In relation to Michael Zavros’s work, The Metro Gallery quotes “His disturbing painting articulates his fear for the safety of his children, with a nod to the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen” (Metro Gallery,2010)

Perhaps Zavros’s painting demonstrates how hard it can be to avoid the image of death within the mass media and the consumer culture. The painting may reflect that the image of death is almost impossible to avoid within contemporary art, design and popular culture. Phoebe motionless body is juxtaposed with  the blue and orange fabric that features the skull in different shapes or sizes.

After a few glances, I have recognised that there an unusual subject opposite the model’s head that appears quite similar to blood. I decided to take a closer look at the image and I had actually recognised an image of the skull in the pool of blood that seeps from the model’s head. I am not to sure as to whether the skull is intentional although it does provide a very interesting composition with the scarf.

The skull features a dark, sinister appearance that contrasts with the grinning skulls on Mcqueen’s printed scarfs. Zavros painting is a very powerful image that also questions whether the skull is a symbol of death or just another consumable product.

Metro Gallery Blog, “Phoebe Is Dead”, Metro Gallery, http://blog.metrogallery.com.au/2010/08/phoebe-is-deadmcqueen/ Metro Gallery,2010 (Accessed 23/8/12)

Adam Fulton, “Fear and Death Inspired by Winning Study of Human Frailty”, Sydney Morning Herald 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/fear-and-death-inspired-winning-study-of-human-frailty-20100810-11y7v.html (Accessed 23/8/12)

Image Citations:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2010/08/10/zavros-portrait-prize-daughter-dead-mcqueen.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-08-10/portrait-of-death-wins-150k-prize/938870


Istvan Orosz

27/7/12 – Hungarian Artist, Istvan Orosz skull features a close resemblance to Holbein’s Ambassadors?

A friend had sent me a link to her blog via skype, which features the works of Istvan Orosz who explores the iconic imagery of the skull. According to Gallery Diabolous, Istvan Orosz is a Hungarian artist who graduated as a designer in the 1970’s.

Istvan’s skulls feature similarities to European Renaissance art, which used the skull as a frightening representation of death. Istvan’s work also features a close resemblance to Hans Holbein’s illustration, The Ambassadors.

Antoni Cadafalch argues that Hans Holbein was an artist within 15th century who introduced a series also known as the “Dance of Death”, which featured a dancing skeleton terrorising or mocking other living beings, which also projected a morbid and a sinister depiction of death. (Cadafalch, 2011 p.3-15)

In comparison, John Limon explains that Holbein’s, Ambassadors features certain elements, which suggest or refer to the image of the skull. The image features two men on each side of the frame, which are composed with a table that is covered with different objects or instruments. The actual image of the skull is not clear or direct to the viewer from a first glance, although when the viewer begins to perceive the image from another angle, the skull is slightly noticeable. (Limon, 2012 p.114)

Hans Holbein, Ambassadors (1948 – 1953) Skull is sometimes noticeable from different angles or perspectives (Limon, 2012 p. 114)

One could argue that Istvan’s works features a similar style to Holbein’s Ambassadors, which encourages the viewer to perceive the work from various angles or positions in order to recognise the shape of the skull. Istvan’s work features a subtle interpretation of a skull, which is defined through the human form that is positioned in different angles.

The skull is clearly identifiable, although it does take several times to recognise the skull through the composition between everyday objects and the human body. Istvan may have been influenced by Holbein’s work, which also uses the human form as a way to suggest or relate to the image of the skull.

Istvan’s work relates to the image of the skull, although Holbein’s Ambassadors encourages the viewer to search for the skull, which is unrecognisable at a first glance. Istvan’s work is visually compelling and the use of the human body resonates the border between life and death through the shape of the skull.

The images of Istvan’s work have been sourced from Mountboard, which is a blog that features contemporary art and design. The blog is definitely worth checking out!  Mountboard, http://mountboard.tumblr.com/post/28092690985/ruineshumaines-renown-artist-istvan-orosz-has

http://mountboard.tumblr.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holbein-ambassadors.jpg

Gallery Diabolus, “CV, Istvan Orosz”, Gallery Diabolus, http://www.gallerydiabolus.com/gallery/artist.php?id=utisz&page=cv (Accessed 27/7/12)

Limon, John, Death’s Following: Mediocrity, Dirtiness, Adulthood & Literature (USA: Fordham University press, 2012) p. 114

Cadafalch, Antoni. The Day of the Dead: El Dia De Los Muertos.  London: Koreno Books, 2011 p. 5 – 17