Metal skull sculpture made from nuts, bolts, pipe flanges, chains etc. The piece stands 16 inches tall and weighs about 43 pounds.
It started with my friend ‘Sammy’ asking a very talented metal sculpture artist Jimmy F. Skorupa to make him a skull that he could place his headphones on. While Im not sure, if this is for display, for quick retrieval, for “my life is dope and I do dope shit” type reasons. Sammy has many leather bound books and his apartment smells of rich mahogany. Sam does have a diamond in the back, sunroof top, diggin the scene with a gangsta lean. dig?
Jimmy agreed to make the skull.
If I could link to Jimmy’s work here I would. Jimmy makes everything from small bugs to battle ships and it is the coolest style and execution. His work can be seen everywhere inside Greenbush brewery in Sawyer Michigan. No doubt his work has influenced and inspired me. Well, some time went on and Jimmy just didn’t get to making the skull. I asked him “whats up with making that skull?” “nahhh Im just not feeling it man..” For one reason or another Jimmy decided he didn’t want to make this piece.
December rolls around and its about a month until Sammys birthday which is on December 31. New Years Eve. I get the notion to make him this skull as his present but do not want to sleight Jimmy in any sense. “Hey Jimmy, do you mind if I make that skull?” Jimmy’s so cool, he says “go for it”. And so Im off to it.
First thing, I need metal pieces. Second thing, “Hey dad”. Dad was happy to hook me up with all kinds of SCRAP metal sprockets, chains, bolts washers, pipe flanges etc. I spread them out on a makeshift plywood work platform and went to town. Dad later wasn’t too happy about me going back into the organized inventory for those perfect bolts and washers that so beautifully constructed the spherical cranial mass.
Metal skull sculpture Process
(Skip to New Years Eve party if your not into structure, welding rod specs and melted gloves)
I start with a big pipe flange cut off and just begin to bend some pencil rod in a spherical shape for the cranium. 7018 welding rod and the trusty Miller stick welder will make the connections. Also, ive figured out that you can bend and shape pencil rod using the welding rod heat. Which is super handy and expedient for constructing shapes in these type sculptures.
As you add bolt after bolt washer after washer it all starts to work together and gain strength. Paying close attention to the eye nose area and building out from a nose piece center. I take 2 of the same pieces and bend them both in the identical but opposite way. This builds out the zygomatic arch/cheek bone areas. Because Mirroring pieces helps me to keep it symmetrical in the facial feature area. Filling in the skull and building out the jaw is pretty straight forward from here.
Caution:Your welding glove is going to get ruined. I knew this going in, even so thought itd be a good sacrifice. A ton of control at the cost of one glove. Nevertheless, Its a good Idea to get a stick with a magnet on it, pliers, or some other makeshift device to hold your pieces. After I was done the glove was rock hard and shrunk down to an unusable state. Dad wasn’t happy about that either.
Burning / Sandblasting
After the welding was complete I took it to the fire pit to burn off the paint. So that sand blasting would be easier.Also, because this scene makes for an excellent Terminator like scene for the Youtube video.
Next, we take it into the sand blast cabinet, clean it up really nice and then apply the clear coat. Now the metal mass is complete.
Base of metal skull sculpture
Without a doubt this piece needs a nice base. A softener for whatever surface it will sit upon. Altogether this thing weighs a hefty 40 pounds or so. No fucking around.
Firstly, find some spare pine wood and take it to the lathe. Cut it down into a shape with a nice edge and a pseudo ogee. Secondly, add a nice coat of ebony stain. .Thirdly, I simply attach the base to the skull with some wood screws.
It needed some contrast from within and so I took some copper sheets bent them just so, snuck them inside the skull and threaded them in with some copper wire. Viola!
New Years Eve party!
I made sure to have the video done before the party. Sammy might tell you that its his birthday and not New Years eve we are celebrating. Ha. Regardless Sam had no idea he was going to get this Metal skull sculpture from me. He had written it off after Jimmy didn’t come through with the goods. So, my thought was to show him the video on the big screen and let him see this thing manifest before his eyes.
The party roared on into the night. I had my pointy hat and cocktail workin. Apparently it kind of got around that I was doing something special. One friend in particular asked “I hear you are doing some video presentation thing for Sam?” “Yes I am… top secret though” “Well I do have to get home, but I will definitely stick around for this”. And so, In anticipation, right before midnight, the whole party gathered around and I played the video. That was a special moment for me I must say. There was a little round of applause adn Sammy cried a little bit. He would deny this. But its true.
To conclude I want to thank my father. If you watched the video you will see him. Along the way he recommended putting the sprocket inside as to represent the gears of the mind turning. He helped me setup and cut some of the pieces. He allows me to use his meticulously organized space. Without a doubt this empowers me to be free. Any little piece of material or tool that I may need is available. And because of him, I know how to use most of these. I am forever grateful for ya pops.