In ancient Greek Mythology, Greek citizens would place coins or "obols" in/on the mouths of the deceased so they could gain passage across the River Styx via Charon. Charon is the ferryman who guides souls from the land of the living to the land of the dead. In this current society of greed and consumerism, those coins got me thinking about a multitude of Memento Mori's. I developed the pattern in the background to create an "after-image" effect for the viewer, as well as two sets of halo's placed behind each skull to mimic religious iconography. The coins on the skulls each say "Liberty", and use my logo, modeled after Hans Holbein the Younger's Danse Macabre. The decaying snake, surrounding the skulls in an infinity pattern, is an additional Memento Mori and an allusion to consumerism. The snake is from The Nightmare Before Christmas, in a scene in which the snake is swallowing the children's Christmas presents. The additional sketch work are a part of the preliminary work to develop this painting.
Acrylic on canvas, 30 inches x 10 inches, 2022.