Established in 2013, by art director Louise Batey, who has worked for clients such as Jaeger and BMW and photographer and former make-up guru Gozra Lozano, whose clients include Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, MAC and Givenchy, Skullpture was inspired by their mutual love of glamour, decadence, fantasy and the macabre, opium dens, Victorian brothels, Dickensian alleys, Latin passion and revenge, cheating gentlemen gamblers and all things slightly seedy, they say.
Gozra and Louise noticed there was a gap in the luxury home decoration and interiors market for handmade, bespoke, 3D and individual decorative skull designs, using only the highest quality materials and so were inspired to set up their company Skullpture. Since forming the company, Skullptures have been sold to an increasing number of private clients and a major exclusive London department store has shown an active interest in stocking them.
I asked Louise about the change in career direction. "As a graphic designer all my work is done on computer, and with more and more communication becoming digital I wanted to get back to creating art with my hands and feeling more in touch with a physical creative process," she says. Gozra adds, "When using the camera I always wanted to capture the essence of unique individuals and transport them to my imaginary world. With Skullptures I have the opportunity to bring back to life characters with a story to tell."
Each Skullpture is unique. The framework of the Skullpture is created from a combination of resin and plaster and the bases are slate with steel rods. Once constructed, Gozra and Louise embellish the Skullptures with real gold and silver leaf, opium pipes, lace, fabric flowers, ostrich feathers, Swarowski crystals, Chinese coins, metal chains. Every material they use is customised to create a decadent and distressed appearance. The Skullpture is an impressive, imposing and unique object d'art. "Needless to say, no animals or humans are hurt in the production process", Gozra and Louise assure me. "After spending many years as make up artist to the stars I have become make-up artist to the skulls," Gozra says.
Before Louise and Gozra begin making each Skullpture, they create a back story for it, endowing each piece with a context and a sense of how it came to its own particular "sticky end". This, they believe also gives each Skullpture a personality. Characters to emerge so far, from this process, include La Condesa de la Rosa, Madame O and Le Marquis au Coeur Noir.
"The only limit to Skullpture is our imagination," says Louise.