Emily Harris lives on a little hobby farm in Tennessee. She loves all forms of art as well as history, hiking, watching scary movies with her dog, and skulls.
She found her first skull when I she about eight years old. It was a little groundhog skull which she found out in the woods and was completely fascinated by it. She carried it home and set it up on a shelf with some fossils and other knick knacks that she had collected and ever since then skull collecting has been something of an obsession.
A few years ago she decided to try painting on skulls. Having been an artist all her life, Emily had been to school and got a Bachelor’s in Commercial Illustration, and she discovered that painting on these unique canvases was something that she found really rewarding. She explains – “I’m always dragging home roadkill to clean or finding bones out in woods, pastures, and creeks. I also get a lot of them from hunters, farmers, and taxidermists that would in many cases just be throwing them away otherwise. So it’s a strange and cool way to recycle and use every part of an animal that has been killed and keep it from being wasted.”
She believes that skulls and bones are natural works of art all on their own, and prefers to paint damaged ones and give them a new “life.” Each skull she works with goes through a thorough cleaning process before paint ever touches it. She cleans them through a process called maceration or by using flesh eating dermestid beetles. Then they are degreased and whitened and before she begins slinging paint!
She describes her art as “a lot of hard and sometimes rather grotesque work but I enjoy every minute of it!”
Her painted skulls as well as other macabre curiosities from the natural world can be purchased in her Etsy shop!
Etsy Shop: etsy.com/shop/shadyufostudios
Check out more of these amazing pieces below