No discussion about street art, skulls and stickers should ever happen without mention of the prolific Arrex Skulls. His hypnotic skull imagery graces signs, walls and just about every other surface around the world. Please enjoy 9.5 questions with Arrex Skulls.
1 - The classic/current Arrex Skull design has a hypnotic feel to it (for me), do you remember the vibe you were going for when you were working out that design or am I just dizzy in general?
I don't think I was consciously going for anything to be honest. It was a slow evolution, I think it was about a year before my skull illustrations turned into the crazy eyes skull. I'd made a handful of them before carving those crazy eyes into the baseball cap skull. I liked them so much after that I decided adding them to the others- until they all had them! Something about those eyes seemed to awaken the skull illustrations- make them more alive- like they were staring right at you. All of a sudden my empty eye socketed skulls just seemed boring. The eyes have now become a very integral part of my branding. When I was carving that baseball cap skull though- I was just thinking to myself- how can I make this design more unique- what more can I add, that's when I free handed in those rings in the eye sockets.
2 - What living artists are you really digging right now?
I'm really interested in peer artists, people around my own age that are just as passionate about what they are doing as I am- two examples would be Danny Martin and Mr.Heggie. They are amazing illustrators and I envy their artistic talents. Sweet Toof is another artist whom I've admired for some time- his branding is so tight and crisp- you see it and you know it instantly. He can morph his moniker to fit any space large or small. I've been blessed in that I've been able to work with and communicate with all three of these awesome artists.
3 - You received second place in an online 'sticker bomber of the year' contest recently...is it satisfying to know you have so many fans?
It's awesome to know that so many people dig what I do. Sounds cliche, but when I started I never though I'd have a following at all- so it's really humbling to have all these people raising their hand for me.
4 - It seems with the rise artists like Banksy...popularity of graffiti/street art is at an all time high. How do you feel about graffiti being more accepted?
Well, I think graffiti and street art are very different things. I think street art is definitely becoming more popular and accepted, but I don't think graff has really gotten any leniency from the public. I think with the rise of social media- people are indeed getting more interested in street art- you can experience it not just from your own city now- but through your phone you can see it from all over the world, on a daily basis. Street art is more easily swallowed by civilians because it's visual- it's quirky or funny or clever or witty- or even just aesthetic- but a wider group of people can identify with it than with graffiti. I have nothing against graff- I have respect for those guys who have those beautiful hand styles- I just think it's harder for people to accept. I think the rise of street art is great, it gives purpose to those unused surfaces on the streets like the backs of street signs and electrical boxes- objects that we all pay taxes to install in the first place- I don't see why we can't decorate them. I think with more acceptance of street art- we will get closer to this maybe being an option. Street art just makes the city scape more interesting and appealing.
5 - You can meet with someone from history (no longer alive) and speak with them for one hour. They will answer any questions you have in complete honesty. Who do you meet?
I would meet... Robin Williams, I bet he would just be so entertaining to have a chat with- he was so brilliant.
6 - If you could slap a 20 foot tall Arrex Skull sticker on any monument or structure, where would you slap it?
Tippy top of Big Ben, I think Parliament would be fitting considering that's where my skull project was born. Being one of the most touristy areas of the entire world- he'd get a lot of views!!
7 - Where do you currently draw the most artistic inspiration from?
The street. Whether it be walking down the street and seeing other people's artwork, or seeing posts of street art on Instagram. Walking around aimlessly is when my mind goes blank from all my responsibilities and I can come up with new fun ideas.
8 - You have fans internationally...are any fans from any particular countries more rabid then others?
Over the years I've connected especially with people from England. I've got a lot of pals over there. That's where I photographed the skull I use today for all my designs- in the natural museum of history there in London. I think maybe for that reason I've subconsciously gravitated over there for pals and collaborations- I love all those British dudes and dudettes.
9 - You use actual pictures of skulls from museums to create some of your art. Are any of these skulls labeled with the names or occupations of the person? Can you point to a sticker you've made and know what/who that person is in a sense?
Actually all my skulls I've made come directly from one photograph of a real human skull from a museum- the one mentioned above. This is why the teeth and angle of my skulls is consistent throughout all stickers- it truly is based off the same ONE photo. It was part of an evolution display- and my skull was the most evolved of the series.
9.5 - If I was eaten alive by any animal, it would surely be a ______________.
Answer: Honey Badger