Tag Archives: Skulls

Blogging 101: Introduction to Craniophiles and New Explorations

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Image Citation: Spoilheap Archaeology

You’re properly wondering, what is today’s agenda? I’m glad you are here, as I have another fascinating subject to share and reflect that’ll hopefully ease your curious minds! As part of the blogging 101 course, today’s assignment involves exploring a particular comment that I’ve written for a fascinating or intriguing blog post.

As you may have guessed by now, I have a curiosity for skulls and I’ve recently followed an interesting blog known as Craniophiles that presents the cultural, artistic and historical explorations of the human skull. If you are a dedicated skull enthusiast, you’ll absolutely love reading this blog, trust me! Don’t forget to check out the link below,

https://craniophiles.wordpress.com

Differences between male and female skulls

Craniophiles have released an engaging post that distinguishes the differences between the male and the female skull. These distinctive elements identifies the gender including the teeth, jaw line and eye sockets. According to Craniophiles, the male skull features a sharp, defined jawline and brow bridge in comparison to the female skull that presents a circular structure or definition including the eye sockets.1

The post inspired me to undertake some further research through the Internet in order to understand the differences. According to Nital Jain, the female skull does feature a circular or round forehead, while the male skull predominately features wider cheekbones, a defined brow line and a prominent “nasal spine.”2 So where do we go from here?

Latest observations

The article posted by Craniophiles invited me to consider whether the skull or the subject of death is depicted in the male or the female form? Throughout the years, I’ve discovered masculine representations of the skull as black and white t-shirt designs or merchandise, however there are colourful and feminine sugar skull designs within the contemporary culture. I’ve wondered whether there is an artist who has considered drawing a distinctive male or female skull? This is an interesting question that I’ll need to examine further, don’t worry I will return with the answer!

These are two examples anyway, as there are plenty of other depictions of death and the human skull across different cultures. In regards to my recent observations, the European and Mexican representations of the skull appear to be significantly popular within the contemporary sphere. According to, María Herrera-Sobek, the Grim Reaper is often portrayed as a masculine figure within America and Europe, while Mexico features La Santa Muerte, who is recognised as the “Saint of Death” that features feminine characteristics.3

Revisiting previous explorations

Are you curious to discover an interesting fact? About three to four months ago, I started writing a blog post exploring male and female skull makeup designs in order to identify whether the interpretation of death varies depending on the person’s gender. There were some interesting arguments relating to this particular subject and I definitely required additional time time to digest all of the information.

I’ll have to return to the post and complete the blog post once and for all. Discovering new articles or posts can provide new ideas and perspectives that inspire me to explore new elements or revisit old territories. Now you’ve reached the end but the journey doesn’t end here, I shall return with another fascinating post in the next few days.

References

1. Craniofiles, “How to Put a Name to a Face, Part 2 Gender,” https://craniophiles.wordpress.com/page/3/ (Accessed 17/7/15)
2. Nitul Jain, Textbook of Forensic Odontology (Bangladesh: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers Ltd, 2013) p.20
3. María Herrera-Sobek, Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopaedia of Cultural Traditions, Volume 1 (California: ABC-CLIO, 2012) p.666  


Day Four, Blogging 101: Identify your Audience, Exploring New Elements

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This particular assignment encouraged me to examine the audience, demographic and the readers who may visit the blog. This is a very interesting exercise that involves writing for an intended audience or reader in mind, although I dedicated two days to brainstorming in order to determine, who is reading Black Calavera?

While I don’t have a particular person in mind, I hope to share the research I’ve undertaken over the past few years with the outside world. Now that I’ve switched to my focused state of mind, I would imagine the ideal reader as a skull enthusiast or an artist with a strong interest for skulls.

The second component involves introducing a new element to the blog and I wondered whether there is something new I can possibly explore that is different to what I’m familiar or comfortable with. I was intrigued to explore illustration or drawing that is something that I haven’t practised for about a year now. For two whole days, I sat beneath the heater with a pencil and an old sketch book that was recently discovered in the bottom of a cardboard box; this basically summaries the length of time I haven’t practised my sketching.

With two to three attempts, a sugar skull illustration was finally created! I can be rather picky, although the objective of the exercise involved experimenting with a different medium and the test determined that I can push beyond my comfort zone.  With additional practise and persistence, the sugar skull illustrations will improve over time. This is the starting point anyway and the sketchbook will hopefully provide new ideas for upcoming projects.

Why Sugar Skulls?

The designs are incredibly inspiring and there is a fascinating cultural association with the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival that is unbelievably admirable and highly creative. For those who are unfamiliar with the Day of the Dead, this vibrant celebration welcomes the spirits from deceased friends and relatives through decorative altars, sugar skulls and other creative events, as referenced by Regina.M.Marchi.1

The sugar skulls are highly colourful, although I’m intrigued to explore the decorative designs in black and white. Another fascinating subject, is the interpretation of death and how would one describe this ambiguous subject? This is something I’ve questioned over and over again, although death is one of those mysterious occurrences that is a natural process of life, although the thought is relatively daunting at times.

I’ve actually awakened from a good night’s rest and realised that I perceive the world through my own point of view and one day that’ll eventually disappear, when death approaches. This is actually difficult to explain, although I experienced a sudden wave of anxiety when I realised that there is an ending, there are some things in life that are unavoidable and death is one of them.

So where do we go from here? Good question, well I would love to explore how others interpret death, perhaps this’ll transform into an exciting new project, you’ll have to wait and see.

Reference

1.Regina.M.Marchi, Day of the Dead USA, The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenon (USA:Rutgers University Press) p.26 


Day Three, Blogging 101 Continued: These Top Five Blogs are Absolutely killer!

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I’m back ready to write another post and I would love to share a few of my favourite blogs on WordPress. As you may have guessed by now, I’m participating in the Blogging 101 course that has enabled me to re-evaluate the purpose and the significance behind Black Calavera. This particular exercise for the week involved writing a post in regards to my favourite topics or blogs that is exciting because I thoroughly enjoy browsing through my reader and discovering new posts, articles or reviews. Here they are, starting with number one.

#1 The Year of the Halloween 

If you haven’t visited this blog and you have an interest for horror, remember to check out this site! Eva Halloween is the author of the blog who posts a range of fascinating articles relating to Halloween, horror and paranormal activities. I throughly enjoy reading the makeup tutorials, DIY instructions and costume competitions that are definitely inspiring and creative. At a young age, I developed a fascination for horror and The Year of the Halloween is the perfect match! There are so many different articles to read through and the different subjects are seriously fascinating.

http://theyearofhalloween.com/

#2 Horrorpedia 

There’s nothing I love more than a scary horror film or a cheesy b-grade horror movie. Well lucky for me, there’s Horrorpedia that presents a range of fascinating and entertaining reviews in regards to classic horror films, international blockbusters, and independent cinema. The list doesn’t stop here, Horrorpedia also includes other artistic influences including music, literature and digital media that explore the exciting world of horror. This is a really resourceful site and there are plenty of trailers, interviews and video clips to watch for all of your horror needs.

Plus there’s a section dedicated to the “worst horror movies of all time” with a large selection of the most outrageous z-grade films I’ve ever seen! This is definitely the highlight of Horrorpedia, if you love watching those kind of films that are so bad they’re good, you will absolutely love this section.

http://horrorpedia.com/

#3 Parlour of Horror 

I was immediately intrigued by the Parlour of Horror that features reviews in regards to literature, cinema, art and real life events. My favourite posts are the film reviews relating to classic horror and new releases that I can definitely add these to my list of movies to watch. The site also features some fascinating posts relating to horror art, where I discover artists, photographers and writers who explore dark and sinister subject matter.  There is a great deal of inspiring and engaging information to read through and if you’re interested in horror, I would definitely recommend the Parlour of Horror.

https://parlorofhorror.wordpress.com/

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Image One: Fieldey, Día de los muertos zombie Kurt Cobain

#4 Fieldey

Now you’re in for a real treat, as a Fieldey is a contemporary artist who creates the most inspiring skateboard and surfboard designs. They’re colourful, artistic and captivating; the designs feature extraordinary detail and aesthetics that provides me with the urge to browse through the entire collection! Of course, my favourite works are the Day of the Dead designs, if you’re a skull enthusiast you’ll absolutely love Fieldey’s collection of skateboards and surfboards. The site also features commissions, tutorials and a wicked gallery full of inspiring works.

https://fieldey.wordpress.com/

#5 Craniophiles

Last but not least, is Craniophiles that is right up my alley! This marvellous site delivers a series of blog posts that examine the human skull from an artistic, historical and scientific context. As an avid skull enthusiast, I cannot contain my excitement when I discover a blog with reviews and articles relating to the human skull and Craniophiles features a large collection of fascinating posts investigating this particular subject. Have an interest in art or science? No problems, Craniophiles has the information you’ve been searching for!

https://craniophiles.wordpress.com/


Day Two of the Blogging 101 Expedition: What is the Skulls Project?

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The second assignment for the week invited me to contemplate my chosen tagline and the significance behind the blog. So why did I choose the Skulls Project and what is the overall meaning? This is a good question to begin with and this is definitely something I’m currently exploring.

As I mentioned in the previous posts, the blog was initially used as a form of documentation that featured a range of drawings, sketches, observations and research relating to the contemporary representations of the skull. I’m often asked a very fascinating question whenever I mention the purpose behind the blog. In fact I’m regularly asked, why did you choose the skull?

This is a very important piece of the puzzle, why do I spend so much time writing about the skull? In 2012, I realised a growing interest in the Mexican Day of the Dead and the sugar skulls that are prevalent within the local bars, cafes, shops and restaurants across Melbourne. Due to the wealth of information, research and invaluable data, I decided to create a project that involved writing one post per day for an entire year relating to the human skull and it’s relevance to contemporary art.

As a result, the skulls project accumulated a following that was a huge surprise at the time, as the blog was purposely used for documentation. Soon after, the name Black Calavera emerged from many productive brainstorming sessions of course! At this particular stage, I’m currently experimenting with different styles for the brand and the blog.

It doesn’t end here! The project also reflects my personal explorations of life and death that occurred after a near death experience four years ago. This has definitely altered my perspectives regarding the inevitable presence of death and the experiences that life has to offer. The unknown is a mysterious and ambiguous journey that has invited me to repeatedly ask the same question, what happens to us after death?

We all know that death will occur at some stage but how do we come to terms with the idea? The Skulls Project examines some of these particular questions or explorations and the overall process aims to uncover the different interpretations or perspectives relating to the subject of death and the connections to the human skull.


Black Calavera undertakes Blogging 101: Here We Go!

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Hey there everyone!

I’ve recently joined the WordPress blogging 101 tutorials, as a way to connect with other enthusiastic bloggers and readers out there. I’ve been writing for a while now, although I thought this would provide the perfect opportunity to expand the blog, enhance the branding and establish new contacts.

If you’re a new visitor, Welcome to Black Calavera! First all I thought I shall introduce myself. I’m Charlotte Pridding and I currently maintain a research blog known as Black Calavera: The Skulls Project that explores the growing interest in the human skull via contemporary art, design and popular culture. The blog was founded in 2012 as part of a university project, where I recognised a fascination for the contemporary representations of the skull within Melbourne’s urban landscape.This is where the story begins and my exploration into death’s unavoidable presence.

Initially, I used the blog as a form of documentation and note taking for my thesis that explored the artistic, cultural and historical depictions of the skull. To my surprise, I gradually accumulated a following and a response from the public that motivated me to continue writing articles and reviews regarding the current trends or styles involving the human skull.

The blog was initially inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration and the sugar skulls that influenced the solo exhibition in 2012 and the artistic components explored the sugar skull face painting within a European context via portraiture as well as black and white photography. The project eventually progressed into a series of self portraits that reflects my personal perceptions of death and mortality via makeup or face painting in order to reflect the contemporary depictions of the skull.

Well what’s next? I’m currently in the process of developing Black Calavera that will hopefully include new articles, projects and websites. The aim is to continue the blog as long as I can in order to examine whether the representation of the skull changes or progresses over time and I’m intrigued to determine whether my interpretations of death will change due to different life experiences.

My other interests include writing of course and event photography, although I hope to establish a separate section for my freelance photography under Black Calavera in the upcoming year. That’s me in a nutshell, I hope you enjoy reading the posts and the articles!


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/


UV and Black Light Sugar Skull Designs

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#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


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