Skulls: Seat of personality. Sign of poison. Mobile home for 100 billion brain cells. Skulls: Archetypes. Relics of revered ancestors. Symbols of secret societies. Calaveras. Skulls: Memento Mori. Battle trophies. Warnings. Black Magic. Faces of Eternity.
Few symbols have the universal recognition and the suggestive power of the Skull. Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio understands that rich history and thematic power. He understands, and he seeks to add his own commentary on this symbol of so many different things. He has done so through his whimsical take on the subject: The Faces of Eternity. "Faces" is a collection of skulls that are ... different. Carved from a variety of natural gemstones, the ensemble is a gentle thumb in the eye of the guy with the hand-operated lawnmower.
Although he is an engineer by profession, Luis is rooted in the traditions attached to the family art studio, where the production of beautiful articles provided the lure that engineering could not compete with. He, and his sister Sylvia, shares a passion for jewelry design and fabrication that expresses itself in hard-stone carvings and tableaus, usually centered on themes from nature. Luis imagined a collection of skulls more in line with modern culture and sensibilities: Skulls with attitude, Skulls with personality, Skulls that would wink ... if they had eyes.
Having thought up the concept, Luis spent several years gathering the rough for the carvings. This was not an easy task since the material needed to be: interesting, solid, and big enough to carve a skull out of. Following the materials acquisition part of the program, Luis immersed himself in the actual design and creation of the carvings, spending a year on the project. In general, each skull required anywhere from one to three months to finish. Besides the actual stone working, there remained the design and creation of the accessory metalwork that accents and supports these sculptures. All metalwork is crafted in vermeil.
After the collection was completed, it went on tour, with exhibitions at: the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) world headquarters in Carlsbad, California; the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as part of the "Gem Artists of North America" exhibit; and finally at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Elmhurst, Illinois.
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