Should we laugh or shiver at artist ViVaDa’s Greenland Skull art? Blond braids adorning this probably bovine skull with wide set eye sockets not quite aligned might suggest a laugh. The golden locks, fashioned it seems as viking horns, angle down left against eyes angling right. Swirling mosses and grasses in the digital background complete the rendering’s dizzying effect. So after staring for some time at this image (and how can we not but hold with the image for some time as we are likewise captivated by the hypnotic Joe Kramer/Burton Philbrick audio track), the mind begins to spin a bit and the stomach slightly to turn. This is good, for we are inclined then to contemplate more serious implications of this skull art. The rich yellow hair braids speak of course not of death but of attractive youth and life that once was. Joe’s lyrics speak directly to this:
Once I had a life
Once I felt so great
Once I had some good times
but now . . . I am dead.
Audio can guide us beyond initial reactions to images (in this case chuckles) to potentially more complex responses (in this case feelings about our mortality). At the most fundamental level, a thoughtful bit of audio may keep us engaged with the painting a little longer than otherwise might be the case, and as a result there is time to think more deeply about the images. Our audio provides an explicit narrative, even animates the image. We visit with not only the remains of the deceased, but with the ghost as well, who shares with us her story of a life loved, now lost.
As a painting, this bit of skull art is impressive and deserves a place in every skull art collector’s portfolio. I am pleased to offer a 13″ X 10″ digital print of ViVaDa’s Greenland Skull. Please visit the product page in my Facebook shop to order.