Skull Friday

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Skull Friday

Sarah Waddle

“I wanted the tears to be very shiny and sparkly, because I think that sad moments can also be very beautiful.”

Interview by L. Valena


First of all, can you describe to me what you responded to?

I responded to a collage. It looked to me like it might have been photos from some kind of archeological or historical study around the culture of an area. I noticed that there was a scrap of possibly a picture of a skull, and some more indigenous looking architecture, as well as something... possibly having to do with a prayer service? And this is all assumptions I made, obviously I didn't really have too much detail. But just looking at it, it looked like it was trying to tell the story of someone's journey, and learning more about local culture, and understanding the discoveries they made on their trip.

What was your first reaction to that?

I kind of went with the story that perhaps they came across a burial ground of some kind, and they were really interested in looking at the way in which the ceremony went after someone had passed away. I like the textural aspect of the collage, and I really like the skull piece- I found that very interesting. I was inspired by this idea of collage work, and so I thought maybe I would do something with papier-mache. And then I thought of rebirth after death, and the way they took pieces of paper and the photos and made something new out of them, and made a story. Then also this idea that they discovered all this new knowledge, and bringing back to life things that were once gone.

Is animation something you do often?

Yeah, I do a lot of stop-motion photography, and I also do a lot of video production, so that kind of work is something I knew I enjoyed right off the bat. I've been making film since I was very young, I got my first video camera when I was about ten years old, and I was out filming sketches and scenes of my friends. The world of animation came into my life when I was very young, and I really enjoy stop motion photography because I feel like you are creating something from nothing a lot of times. It can be something very beautiful- something that stops you and makes you say "whoa, how did they make that? What's happening here?" and that's what I try to do with a lot of my artwork. I want people to have a brief moment of time where they can be fully distracted from whatever is going on, and immerse themselves, by not taking up too much of somebody's time, but with something they can enjoy.

So you kind of explored the narrative a bit of what you felt was being communicated through this collage. Tell me what happened next?

I knew that I wanted to do something with papier-mache, I wanted to do something to reiterate the idea of rebirth and the loss and mourning cycle. So I thought of a skull, and working with recovering a skull. So I went to a lot of antique store and tried to see if I could get something- some shape that I could possibly work with, but I couldn't. I wasn't able to find anything, so I went through and I actually figured out how to make a skull from scratch out of cardboard and papier-mache. I covered it with a local newspaper, a lot of the articles I chose were things from the sports section, as well as I believe there was an article about Trump talking to the Korean government. I picked those things because they were so juxtaposed, I though it if anyone really looked at the pieces of the words in there, they would have a lot of different articles. I built the skull and pulled the floral arrangements and I made the buds myself, actually. I really like things that sparkle, that's something that I enjoy, so I thought 'how is this skull going to be reborn?' The mourning process: you go through a grief period, and then you let that expire, and then from that comes some kind of learning. I wanted the flowers to represent the learning, but I also wanted to represent the beauty of the grief process. The beauty of being sad, and the beauty of the things that can come out of that. So I wanted the tears to be very shiny and sparkly, because I think that sad moments can also be very beautiful. I wanted it to be almost like a river flowing out from behind the eyes, down through, and seeping into the ground, and then from that coming this flourish of life. In the intro there's a bit of a stormy setting, where the lights change back and forth. The concept for that, was that there is this brief period of time where you don't know how to feel after someone passes, you know you have to cry, but you don't know how to, you don't know how to express the feelings that you're feeling, so that's where those lighting changes came from.

Wow. Very powerful stuff. And I love these rhinestones, the blueness of the flowing rhinestones. Are these flowers real or fake flowers?

They're fake flowers.

Can you talk to me about that?

I purchased the bouquet from Michael’s, and I wanted to pick a color that would contrast very sharply with the brightness of the jewels. And I wanted it to be almost- a little bit duller than your average flower. I wanted it to bring back this normalcy- match the color story of the earth that was beneath the skull, go with the idea that things are going back to normal. This idea of life returning back to normal, not the extreme emotion coming from the sparkly things that are coming from the eyes.

What else do you have to say about this process?

I think it was really fun. I think that for me, I wish I had a little more time to go in and find a really great musical piece to match the overall tone, but then I realized that if I'm passing this on to be inspiration for someone else, maybe someone else can fill in that gap. I think it would be really cool if someone could build some kind of story or musical piece off this, and I'm glad I left it kind of open ended. The name itself is not exactly arbitrary, but that's kind of where a lot of my art comes from, is this idea of taking normal things that you see everyday and transforming them into something with much more meaning. So the idea that it happened on a Friday, or the idea that only good things happen on the weekend, or maybe only bad things happen on the weekend. I wanted to leave it open to interpretation in that way. I thought it was a lot of fun, I think next time, if I get the opportunity, I would love to more written pieces. I do a lot of poetry as well, and maybe a video poetry montage perhaps.

Do you have any advice for someone else?

I would say that you're always your biggest critic, and to go with your gut on things. There was a lot of second guessing on my part, because I feel like it's very open ended. You think you want people to respond to this the 'right way'. But at the end of the day (and this is where I kind of learned about the beauty of this project), I could really let loose. And what came from it was so amazing to me, and to be able to do something within a project, in a structure... Just telling yourself, this is something you love to do, and as long as you're enjoying yourself, others will enjoy it too.

Call Number: M12VA | M15FI.waSku

Sarah Waddle

Sarah Waddle: Small-town girl with big aspirations to make little things that interrupt peoples' day-to-day grind.

Thinks rain is just the sky telling you to slow down.

Likes: animals, pasta, writing and film/photography.