Saturday, July 9, 2011

Clay's Super Skull Saturday

I absolutely love being able to bring these Super Saturday posts to all of you. Sometimes one artist has so much skull art work that it deserves recognition, and this week Clay Hoffman has made my Saturday much easier and enjoyable. Here's more from Clay :

"When I first started making metal sculptures, I created a full skeleton for a piece I was working on. Many years later I tried to create a gold doubloon similar to the ones used in Pirates of the Caribbean. As I worked on making a good looking skull coin, I made the association, skull – sculpture, ah ha! I should make a sculpture of a skull! I thought I was being so clever, and it was going to be so cool and unique to have a sculpture of a skull. That was until I did a search under skull sculptures, and found out that hundreds of other like minded individuals also thought it’s a great idea to create a skull sculpture. It was also at this time that I found the most excellent Skull-A-Day web site.

The majority of the skulls that I make start out as a piece of sheet metal. The sculpture “Stages of Development”, shows how I can start with a cut out piece of metal and form it into a happy skull face.

One of these skulls is of the “Star Child”, who is supposed to have been from outer space. The other skull is kind of a little fiendish looking skull with bony appendages protruding around his forehead, eyes and check bones.

Here I have two of my wire frame coat hanger sculptures wearing necklaces. The girl is wearing a very primitive skull that looks like it could be the missing link between man and ape. The guy is wearing my Stop Using Drugs necklace. This necklace features a skull that was created out of a spoon and a couple forks. The syringe works as the cross bar in the universal stop design.

As I worked on creating these skull faces I thought it would be fun to make a complete skull. I set out to make a bobble head skull sculpture with an upper torso. The head on this sculpture is connected with a spring that lets it rock back and forth. One of the arms is mounted to a bolt so that the arm can be moved up and down like you are shaking his hand.

My mom Elaine, was a very dedicated watercolor painter. On November first at age 80 she quietly passed on. November first is one of the two days celebrated for the Day of the Dead. I thought it only fitting that I create a memorial of my mom doing what she enjoyed most, painting. She is shown working on a copy of the last painting she was working on before she died, a picture of two angels in the clouds.

If you take the skull off of this sculpture and turn it around, the back of the skull has a distorted angry skull face. I have a little routine I do where I pretend to be having a conversation with my mom where we are talking nicely, then I spin the head around and she talks all angrily, and then I spin it back and she talks nicely, and so on and so on.

This picture is of a spoon that has a couple of fork prongs brazed on to it. I have used these Skupoons to eat with, and they work pretty good.

For the last couple years I have exhibited some of my skull sculptures at an art gallery that has a Day of the Dead show. Last year I made this wire frame sculpture out of copper and brass. The sculpture has some of the flower motifs and designs that are used on the sugar skulls that are eaten during the Day of the Dead celebration. One thing fascinating about some of these designs is that they only put one tooth in the center of the mouth instead of two front teeth. After much contemplation, I figured that the artist did this because this is more of a spiritual skull representation then an earthly physical skull. After you pass on to the next world, it could be that the conventions of this world no longer matter. From a spiritual point of view, it does not matter if you have two front teeth, or only one.

I read that the good people at Skull-A-Day like to see collections, here is an assembly of skulls from over the years. This shelf is in a closet that I have my stereo set up in.

The wall next to the shelf has some of my welding helmets and assorted skulls hanging on it. The large metal one in the upper right hand corner is one I am working on, it is made of steel and has a hinged jaw. The skull and cross bones I put together from a bag of bones I purchased at Halloween.

I have been sculpting now off and on for around 35 years. You can see some more of my art at You can also see some of my funny art videos on YouTube if you search under “artbyclay sculpture”. I hope you enjoyed seeing my skull sculptures. Most sincerely, Clay."

Wow, Clay! I'm blown away at the extent of your abilities. Your "skullptures" are incredible, but your site has so much more to offer with great work. Your kinetic sculptures definitely deserve an applause. Thank for sharing all of your work and info with us today. You're sure to inspire a few of us with your skulltastic creations!

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