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ABOUT

Hello. My name is Brian Carr.

 

5 years ago I bought a 5-foot tall Halloween skeleton from Michaels, and set it up at the piano. Though amusing enough on its own, I wasn’t satisfied with how only the outsides of its pinky fingers touched the keys. I undid a few screws, and removed the hands. Then drilled some new holes and re-attached the hands 'sideways', so that all ten fingertips were at least better oriented to the piano keys. My first skeleton hack.

Skelton John - A skeleton at a piano with a boa and sunglasses

Skelton John, playing instrumental  piano versions of spooky Halloween classics and today's pop hits.

The next Halloween I decided to do a proper set-up of four skeletons sitting in Adirondack chairs, and had the idea to put a bit of wire in the hands. With a little TLC, I could breathe a little more life into them. First I made a skeleton give the ‘devil horns’, then made another flash a peace sign, and made another point an accusatory finger.

4 articulated skeletons sitting around a fake fire in Adirondack Chairs

Then I realized if I just re-wired their entire hands, I could pose them in whatever position I wanted, and could change them as needed. Not long after I got to work on that, my wife chanced upon an unheard of before-or-since 2-for-$35 deal on skeletons at Walgreens. "Wipe them out," I suggested. I had a vision.

‘4 skeletons sitting in chairs’ evolved into a full-blown party of 10 skeletons. Holding cups, playing beer pong, caught mid-argument. Clothing procured from the Goodwill outlet imbued them with more personality. Using shepherd’s hooks and fishing line I could position them into place. The growing sense of scale made a jarring impression. Lighting made them look extra dramatic and ghostly at night.

Skeletons play Beer Pong while other skeletons in the background argue

With enough details dialed in, suddenly a bunch of Halloween plastic became a still-life. A tableau. A diorama in my yard. Lit up with spotlights, it made for an otherworldly place to spend time with friends. Eerie, hilarious, uncanny.

“Oh, it’d be funny if I did this,” would be a common refrain if I thought up some amusing detail. Then I’d have no choice but to do it.

'This is art’, my neighbor John declared, a bit stunned at what I was wringing out of simple Halloween skeletons two doors down.

That’s when I was truly hooked.

 

Each subsequent year the scope has gotten a bit bigger, the skeleton hacks more elaborate and varied.  It’s turned into a fun October family hobby; my wife Viva takes on much of the propmaster duties and has become quite proficient with resin. My children Henry and Kate help with ideas, and look forward every year to hosting a cider stand. I turned a third of our garage into a ‘creature shop’ to store my builds, and set up a workbench to efficiently work on new ones.

 

Now I am ready take this from eccentric hobby to full-blown side hustle, and offer my services as a Skeleton Artist--or, 'Skeletist'--to other homeowners and businesses.

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