Monday, 5:00am
12 September 2011

Ghostly symbol

A new book explores contemporary culture’s obsession with the skull

From ancient sculptures to the Damien Hirst, via Shakespeare’s Yorick and the Grateful Dead, the skull has reigned as an omnipresent and multi-layered symbol in human culture. The Book of Skulls, edited by Faye Dowling, is published this month by Laurence King and sets out to explore the place of the skull in contemporary culture.

Dowling states in her introduction: ‘the skull has straddled the worlds of music, fashion, art and popular culture to become today’s ultimate anti-establishment icon.’ Largely image led, the book features some short texts examining iconic moments in the evolution of the symbol, and is packaged in a ‘skeleton’ binding.

Top: Illustration by Mathis Rekowski.


Above: Cover, featuring ‘Prêt-à-Porter’ poster by Telegramme.

Below: ‘Skulledelic’, one of Noah Scalin’s pieces from his Skull-A-Day blog.



Above: Silkscreened poster design by Brian Mercer.

Below: ‘3 X the Radness’, illustration by French.


Below: Illustration by Andres Guerrero.


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop. For a taste of the new issue, see Eye before you buy on Issuu. Eye 80, Summer 2011, is out now.