Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Need Your SKULL!

I've always loved skulls. Ever since I was a kid any time I'd encounter one it would set my motor running. Hard to say what it was or is about them but it's most likely an accumulation of layers; biker-cool, pirates, The Grateful Dead, classic horror movies, The Misfits, Dias de Los Muertos. All of it and more really. I guess the fascination lies not only the amazing shapes, angles and planes but in what the thing actually is. The casing, seat, throne, etc. of the brain. The fact that this hard thing sits just inside the skin as well as moves through our lives and various machinations. I find a resonance with the laughing, colorful and sugary calaveras of the Mexican celebration The Day of The Dead. It's this playful interplay with death, the fact that death is represented as "sweet" and that the dead go about their business just like we do; singing songs, riding bikes, dressing up for dancing that in some weird way fills me with hope. There are similar comical images to be found in Buddhist art where skeletons dance in some never-ending cosmic rave in some Bardo or other. I don't mean to say that death isn't hard. I know first hand the intense impact it can have on one for years after the fact. But while death is intense and scary I've come around to the belief that what's even scarier is a life half lived. A life spent in fear of one thing after another. A life with no chances taken and nothing risked. That's a real death. A living death. People sometimes say that they'd like to live forever and while I get the impulses behind that wish I've come to realize that with out death life would have less meaning. It's the punctuation mark at the end of all of our sentences. So I celebrate the skull. I wear my skull ring and paint skulls on canvas. I honor the dead and even more so celebrate life.


  1. It's time to send you some skullmemorabilia. I remember walking around in some random desert and you chanting "please let's find a skull" After moving here, I took up to drawing all of the skulls I collected and were given by you know who, Old Wild Cat Kennedy! To me skulls were something that you and I had a lot in common with. We bonded around them, carried them in our pockets, put them in our freezer next to the peas, painted with glow in the dark paint, and tortured our room mates with them. Why do you think i insisted on getting married on November 2nd? I still have the candy skulls from that day. I love your photos Keith, keep them coming.

  2. Isabella was logged in to gmail when I posted this. Oh well.

  3. Paul/Isabella! I totally agree! We are bonded together over, into and beyond the skull. Yes, yes brother! The glow in the dark painting was something I'd forgotten! Great times, excellent remembrances!