Jack Savage: Skull Fiend

This piece is comprised of mixed media techniques and variance of mediums. Fine Art Photography (my original speciality) meets oil and watercolour painting, and elements of graffiti are taken to the beyond through the appliance of digital artistry.  

The garish graffiti tag “Savage” is recognisable from other pieces of work within my ongoing series “Contemporary Photographic Street Art” (2020). This series was borne my by ongoing fascination with 1980’s street art and the works of artists such as Jean Michael Basquiat, Richard Hambleton and Keith Haring. The guerrilla, underground and transgressive nature of these artists works have proven inspirational to my creation of these contemporary photographic creations.

Traditionally street art evolved side by side with Hip Hop culture so my prior career as a rare record LP collector and dealer proved invaluable during the creative process. Not for the first time my work provides a link between music, literature, culture and the art world.  For essentially – this is art movement that is similar to hip hop, in that both are engaged in social and political discourse. The period of Lockdown and The Corona Virus and the Black Lives Matter movement – then proved to be fertile ground to make such subversive expressions through the creation of mixed media artworks. Hence – Subtle digs at Governmental rules and regulations are hinted at within the Skull Fiend piece, and the viewer does not have to dig too deep to find them.

This spirit of subversion is something that became central to the street art of the 1970’s and 80’s and is carried on through to the modern era through the outlaw creations of artists such as Bansky, Yuvi etc and it is this element of providing social commentary through art – that is transmitted through Skull Fiend. The Skull is a metaphor for death a spectre of impending doom in both the mental, physical, metaphysical forms of life. This doom is also translated into the current political climate with the restrictions of Corona looming large within our daily lives.

The metaphor of death within the piece is also strongly linked to my battle to quit smoking a foul and putrid habit that I finally manged to quit some 14 months ago. The discerning viewer can actually view the wisps of damaging smoke within the windpipe of the X – Ray Skelton symbolic of the long – term physical damage that prolonged smoking can inflict.

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