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"SKULL (Destroying in order to Create)" - a story of process

Skull - paper mache sculpture by Jud Turner - copyright 2011


I was honored to be invited by Noah Scalin to participate in a show he is curating
to celebrate "International Skull Appreciation Day" at Gallery 5 in Richmond, Virgina.
He sent 100+ artists paper mache skulls to work with and send back to the gallery within 2 months.
We were allowed to alter or add materials, but required to use the paper mache base we were sent:


I received my skull on March 30, 2011, and was excited to open it.


But I immediately disliked it. It seemed lumpy and unarticulated. (Noah had ordered them from a bulk supplier overseas)


I left it laying around the studio for a couple of weeks, and scowled at it while working on other projects.
Tried filling it with expanding spray-foam (horrible mess), and wrote an idea or two on it... but I didn't know what to do with it.


I got mad at it, and chopped it in half using a bandsaw... and finally had an idea -
I decided to destroy it and remake it the way I thought it should look.


Using the bandsaw, I cut the paper mache skull into many long strips in random shapes.


This is the entire skull, cut into strips for re-assemblage.

Found a suitable base and set up the operating table.
Using hot glue and the cut strips of paper mache was like drawing in 3 dimensions. It was very fun.


Progress on the back of the new skull
(used the plastic model for visual reference)

About the only shape I re-used directly from the original skull were the eye sockets as a base for the new skull's eyes.


Continued gluing strips on, added some paint, and eventually a new skull was peering back at me.
I finished it by adding a steel bearing as "third eye" and painting grey-green/blue for uniformity:

Skull - paper mache sculpture by Jud Turner - copyright 2011
"Skull (Destroying to Create)"
paper mache, glue, steel - 17" x 9" x 7"

Skull - paper mache sculpture by Jud Turner - copyright 2011

"Skull (Destroying to Create)"
paper mache, glue, steel - 17" x 9" x 7"

Skull - paper mache sculpture by Jud Turner - copyright 2011

"Skull (Destroying to Create)"
paper mache, glue, steel - 17" x 9" x 7"