Skull Merchandise in Typo
Ok so I know I haven’t posted in a while with moving house and working full-time, life has been pretty hectic at the moment! so where do I begin? well at the very start of the year, I posted a blog post each day and now I am convinced that I should start posting more regularly. I know I haven’t posted for a least a few months, so I began to wonder…..where do i even start?!
So I started to browse through the images I have taken on my mobile phone, I normally take photos with my SLR camera although there are several times where I have found something interesting and I didn’t have all my equipment with me at the time. In Melbourne there is always something new or interesting to find, I remember taking a short cut to the station, at first I was just walking down a dull, dark and grungy alleyway until a recognised an entire wall of graffiti that featured vibrant and intricate designs.
So here I am standing in awe in a deserted alleyway admiring some of the extraordinary and incredible designs that were right in front of me, this is what I enjoy about the city, there’s always something new to discover.
Ceramic Skulls in Window Display
So I use my phone to take snap shots and then I revisit the same place with the proper equipment including my SLR camera, gee what would we do without mobile phones? Ok so I know my trip to the station is slightly off topic, although I have come to realise that my phone has been used to document graffiti, window displays, billboards, posters and even those random events or festivals that I occasionally walk into on a saturday afternoon.
So as many of you know by now I am particularly fascinated with the skull in popular culture, contemporary art and design, as a matter of fact the skull is everywhere, you could be eating a taco and you’ll see a skeletal figurine next to the hot chilli sauce! So what is the first photograph I find stored in my mobile phone?
I discovered a photo of two ceramic skulls outside a two dollar shop within the middle of a small shopping centre, the entire window display was rather strange there were ceramic skulls placed with crystal ornaments, I wasn’t too sure what was going on.
The reason why I had taken this photograph is because I was particularly fascinated in the way the skull is commercialised, the skull has become a product, a commoditized item that can be purchased for only a few dollars. It’s quite strange to think that our skull that holds all of our most precious and vital organs has become a mass-produced item. I have often wondered whether all of these skull t-shirts, banners, posters, figurines etc actually remind us of our own humanity or existence?
So do I think of my own mortality when I view an image of the human skull? for me this is a hard question, at times I do start to contemplate upon life and death, then there are times where I feel nothing at all. Personally the context would have a strong impact, a two dollar ceramic skull in a shopping mall would surely generate a completely different interpretation to a skull that is displayed in a film or an exhibition space?
Ok so these cheap ceramic skulls were rather eclectic but I was interested in the random and unusual display, so I decided to take a photograph for future reference.
Clear It Warehouse / Factory: Dangerfield & Pulp Kitchen Collection – Melbourne, Fitzory
As I browse through my photographs, I have realised that I do take quite a lot of photos of Typo. Typo is a retro stationery store that often sells a range of popular skull merchandise, in fact every time I walk into Typo I instantly find an entire display of skull notebooks, pencil cases, pens, cups and metallic storage containers. It appears that Typo have used the skull because it’s a popular image, in fact I’m convinced the skull will never loose popularity as this anatomical part of our body is something we can all relate to.
I also remember taking photographs of a retail warehouse in Fitzroy, I remember finding skull printed scarfs, jeans, bandannas, t-shirts, skirts, dresses, even swim suits, in fact the entire warehouse was full of skull printed outfits! Ok so Fitzroy is a fantastic place to find random and spontaneous items, it’s the type of place where you’ll find sofa’s, old bicycles and stacks of milk crates placed on every street corner.
Fitzroy have all sorts of quirky stores and gallery spaces, almost every second window featured a skull, my phone definitely ran out of battery life towards the end of the day!
Skull Painting in Window Display, Artist Unknown – Melbourne, Fitzroy
So there we are the skull is everywhere, I suppose I’m continually trying to find new and interesting representations of the skull. It’s actually interesting to think how the symbol of death and mortality has become one of the most popular commercial products within the contemporary visual culture! I can’t walk to the end of the street without recognising at least one person wearing a skull printed scarf, jumper or t-shirt, we just continually purchase these products and never really stop to consider the actual meaning or significance behind the image or the item we’ve just bought!
It’s ironic really, death is still considered as a taboo subject within Western culture, although the majority of products are literally plastered with images of skulls, even baby clothes have skulls on the front! None the less, it’s just a bit of fun just to wear a skull printed t-shirt or a scarf to the supermarket, well everyone else wears the same thing now!
So if you are bored and want to find something interesting to do, take your camera and travel to Melbourne, you’ll be surprised with how many random objects you’ll find 🙂 I know I haven’t posted regularly in a while, now that I have some extra time on my hands I be able to keep on top of things, stay tuned!