About/Contact

About Me

I began carving skulls in 2016.  I had found a deer skull while mixing sound on a Discovery Network show in the Oregon woods.  One day, while working on a project in my tiny school bus house, I found myself holding my dremel while looking at the skull, and thought that perhaps I could combine the two.

I wasn’t anticipating the connection I felt to the skull when I started on my first piece.  I wasn’t expecting to have a conversation with the skull, to be guided by its path, to release energy trapped by the fear and trauma of its death.  I wasn’t expecting the skull to have so much say- I had a loose idea of the design, and then the skull took it from there.  Every skull I’ve carved since has been the same.  I’ll approach the skull with a rough design or a concept, and once I’ve started the details and the evolution feel like they’re out of my hands.  I also wasn’t expecting the skull to be so stubborn!  Each skull’s texture, consistency, and durability is completely different throughout itself, and vastly different overall from skull to skull.

As it turns out, I like a bratty canvas with such a strong say in its creation.  Though I have a background in visual art, it had been over a decade since I felt compelled to create non digital art, and I ran with it.  I quickly outgrew my tiny house desk space, and I invested in a studio space within an artist collective in Portland, OR.

Honestly, the whole thing has been unexpected.  I spent 15 years of my life as a adamant vegetarian.  Seeing taxidermy and skull mounts used to make me viscerally uncomfortable.  Sometimes they still do, if the animal’s spirit doesn’t feel honored.  I’d never imagine that I’d now have such an intimate connection with death, let alone be handling it so closely.  The skulls I get come to me cleaned, but even so skull carving is messy, dusty work, and there’s no questioning that you’re handling something that used to be very much alive.

On that note, my spiritual connection to the process has been even more unexpected.  I’ve never considered myself a particularly spiritual person, but I can’t deny the energy I feel when I carve.  I often feel like a vehicle for the skulls and the life they used to contain while I’m carving them, and I can’t wait to feel this connection deepen and flourish as I continue my work.

In addition to skull carving, I am a location sound recordist, a tiny house advocate, a documentary film maker, a fighter, a dancer, a lover of life, and a newfound appreciator of death.

Nuts, Bolts, Commissions, and Contact

All purchases of completed skulls will be made through the linked Etsy page.  Unfortunately, due to laws regarding animal products, I am currently unable to ship my skulls outside of the US.

If you are interested in commissioning a piece, please contact me at alisongraysonart@gmail.com.  I love working people’s found skulls,  and I also have access to many more species than what you see in my gallery.

My purchased skulls come from several sources who have the proper permits and licences to process the skulls.  Most of my purchased skulls are processed by beetles and are roadkill or have been killed by farmers for being pests.  The skulls I buy are not from animals killed for their parts, and they do not support any industry that does so.  Because of this, the skulls are expensive, and can be particularly expensive depending on the species and laws surrounding its processing.  Additionally, processing skulls is an art of its own, and many people make their living off of this skill and price their product accordingly.  Skulls that are gifted to me often come from hunters who honor the animal by using as many of the parts as possible.

I will not work on human skulls, unless it’s requested in the individual’s will.

 

The deer skull that started it all:

20151212_223953-01.jpeg