As an artistic person I have this thing with numbers (as do many artistic people). So when I come up with an idea or get inspiration for new work, I like to attack it in multiples. Two’s are great, but three’s are better. If the underlying theme is important enough to sit down and work out, then it’s worth exploring multiple scenarios. And that’s how I arrived with these dudes.
I actually constructed these panels myself last June and did the under-paintings of washes in the summer as well. When I started applying layers of wash to these, I had no idea what I was going to make. My only purpose was to create killer color relationships and get some nice organic shapes or stains. I tried to use a variety of colors because I was making somewhere between 10 and 15 panels and wanted contrast. That contrast really paid off because when you look at these three you can see how much the under-paintings effect the mood of the work. The color palette used for each was carefully planned in an effort to enhance that mood.
In the first two skulls, I painted on top of the washes and used repeating lines over the skulls to give them color pop and texture. I also used a stippling technique to give the skulls emphasis.
With the final skull of this series I loved the wash so much that I wanted it to give the subject its distinction and character. To do that, I needed to paint the background and eliminate most of the color wash so that it would become the tones of the skull and thus, the focus.
Tattoo flash and a famous music icon from my formative years were the main inspiration for these three paintings. The thing I like most about painting in this style is allowing my hand so much movement verses trying desperately to keep it still and produce a perfectly shaped line. The first time I tried drawing a skull in this style was for a Red Dot show at the Carrack in October 2013, I loved it then and have meant to come back to it ever since.
I still have about 7 more of these panels stacked up in the studio. Right now I am scheming on just what to attack in triplicate next. I think I’m going to take a break from painting Skeletor for a bit, but I guarantee he will rear his face again soon enough.