Art & Design

The Artist Who Made a Skull Out of Cocaine Explains Himself

Art & Design

The Artist Who Made a Skull Out of Cocaine Explains Himself


Last week a human skull made primarily out of cocaine was brought to our attention. It was a commissioned piece conceptual artist Diddo, and it was called Ecce Animal. We were interested, because we’re huge fans of art and because cocaine. We reached out to Diddo himself to ask a few questions about his piece, and he was happy to respond.

Where did this idea come from? 
As in most of my work my inspiration is human behavior. It’s ever changing, endlessly fascinating, and enigmatic. Human behavior is a result of the conflict and cooperation of two dynamic forces within us. On one hand, we have vestigial animal instincts, without which we wouldn’t have survived our dangerous past. On the other, we are drawn to a communal lifestyle set in civilized societies. These two forces are mutually opposed and do not get on well. Essentially, we cannot live together and we cannot live apart. The point where these counter productive forces meet, is the point from which our true ‘human’ energy emerges. Ecce Animal attempts to crystalize this evolutionary fault line, and in some way transfer the energy generated by this collision.

Where did you obtain the cocaine? 
Are you asking for tips?

Did you test the cocaine you were using?
Personally? No. And after seeing the lab results I’m quite happy about that decision. It was tested at a qualified lab. You can read the full summary of their laboratory test report here.

Where is the piece now? Is it for sale?  For how much?
Describe the process of taking powdery cocaine and using it to sculpt a skull?
How much did you purchase? 
How much cocaine would you say is used in the skull?
Did you have any concerns about the legality of creating this sculpture? What’s to stop police officers from knocking on your door, confiscating it, and arresting you?
As this was a commissioned piece, I’m under a pretty binding non-disclosure agreement, and thus unable to provide too much information.

Linking an addictive and destructive drug with a human skull is an obvious connection. Is it as obvious as it looks, or was there something more profound you were aiming it?
Hopefully it’s not that obvious. Ecce Animal is not intended to be parable on the self-destructiveness of addiction or substance abuse. Instead, it’s the focal point for a thought process. I don’t want to over-intellectualize, but it’s the fusion of two icons that provokes thought and discussion on the nature of man. Specifically, about his creation of, and participation in, a society which echoes his own tendency to lose control.

Why did you feel an accompanying poem was necessary, rather than letting the artwork speak for itself?
The image itself is not the whole ‘piece’. I’m not trying to communicate a single idea, or induce a specific way of thinking. What I hope to accomplish with the artist statement is provide people an arena for thought. The object is intended to be an icon, which creates that arena. The ‘poem’ is the passageway.

What is the accompanying poem trying to say?
We have temporarily outgrown the intended uses for our animal instincts. This leaves us in an uncomfortable conundrum. Where can we safely store them  until we need them again?

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