ARTIST OF THE MONTH
In some ways, there’s nothing simpler than a skeleton. But Patrick Murillo’s skeletons go beyond bare bones. The Dia de Los Muertos artist imbues them with humor, feeling and, yes, even sex appeal. “I’ve learned to inject emotion into a skeleton without a caption, which isn’t easy,” says Murillo, 46. “I even make skeleton girls sexy with boobs. I challenge anyone to do that.”
During the past 20 years, the west Phoenix artist has created more than 5,000 skeleton-related pieces, from paintings to sculptures, shadow boxes and even wedding cake toppers. All are subtly humorous, but none is scary. “I tell a story with the image and make it lyrical and amusing,” he says.
Murillo (mantasticarte.com) grew up in south Phoenix and attended Phoenix College, but his affinity for skeletons goes back even before his birth. “I was conceived on Halloween,” he says, “and the first time we went to Mexico as a kid, the first toy I got was a skeleton playing a trumpet. As I grew up, I would buy anatomically correct skulls. I’ve always been into them.”
Murillo’s art is sold in several stores in L.A., is owned by actors Edward James Olmos and Elijah Wood, and will be shown in two upcoming Phoenix shows with his celebrity wife, Kathy Murillo, at the Desert Botanical Garden October 29-30 and the Heard Museum November 12-13.