About two years we featured a great selection of skull nickels, a numismatic curiosity where miniature bas-relief sculptures are carved into coins, an art form that’s broadly referred to as hobo nickel art. While researching a follow-up article I stumbled onto the work of Paolo Curcio (aka “mrthe”) who appears to have taken the process of carving coins to an entirely new level. Using a variety of different coins the Barcelona-based artist creates etched homages to pop culture, illustrations of figures from literature, and most commonly: macabre portraits of skulls and death, probably the most prevalent theme in hobo nickel art.
One aspect of Curcio’s process that’s really amazing is his ability to use coins made from multiple layers of metal (referred to as clad coins) which he then strategically reveals to create colored flourishes and background patterns. Keep an eye on his Ebay page for occasional coin listings.
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Sans Titre, 2012
Human Behaviour #1, 2012
Human Behaviour #1, detail
Mort Face Prix, 2010, photo by Marie Aschehoug-Clauteaux
Street Allegory, 2010
French artist Shaka (Marchal Mithouard) explores a wild intersection between painting, sculpture and graffiti with his colorfully explosive bas-relief sculptures that seem to cross from the canvas into reality. The aggressive human figures formed from a multitude of intertwined objects are partially inspired by the works of Caravaggio, Arcimboldo, and Van Gogh, all of whom the artists cites as influences in his work. Shaka had a recent solo show at Seize Gallery in Marseille, France and he has a number of prints available in his shop. Photographer Marie Aschehoug-Clauteaux also has a huge gallery of his works worth exploring.
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Editor's Picks: Design
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.