Anatomy Of A Skully—the story behind the APMAs trophy

August 18, 2014 by Christopher Benton

Anatomy Of A Skully—the story behind the APMAs trophy

Rich Sandomeno, Sculptor • spragwerks.com

After I gave you all the directions and sketches, how did you feel about the skull/microphone idea?
Honestly, I was pretty impressed. I love skulls (I mean, who doesn't), and I’m a big fan of gritty music. Merging a skull and vintage mic was a brilliant concept! It got my brain moving in a really good way.

See, my mind works like this: I see something that inspires me (really anything) and I instantly go to:

A: How does it work?

B: How can I make it work to suit my needs? (I love to use objects out of context.)

C: How can I actually make it? This is both a gift and a curse. My mind never stops thinking about making things.

Is it a challenge or easier to have a piece well-sketched and developed?
This can be a double-edged sword. Generally, the more information and references I have, the better. They are essential because they streamline the development process. There’s a fine line between a well-developed sketch and micro-management. Usually during the development process, a creative relationship is also being formed between the client and myself, which is essential to creating anything. The bottom line is all a giant collaborative project (like in a fractal way).

Your creative team provided me with some amazing sketches. That made it really easy to narrow it down to what we finally made. It’s important to always keep in mind whatever it is your making and stay focused on the idea.

Do you prefer more or less developed ideas?
It really depends. Sometimes clients have a pretty good idea as to what they want, then I take that idea and transform it into something three-dimensional. Then there are clients who really want me to do whatever I want. It's not really about what is being made, as much as it is the relationship between the client and myself. It's really important to have a reciprocal relationship between myself and the client. I like to get the creative energy flowing like electricity.

Too often clients have just a general idea of what they want; most ideas are thought out in 2-D. A sculpture is 3-D. When you're making something three-dimensional, you need to think about every single angle of whatever it is you’re making. There are hundreds of transitions that need to flow together in order for something to have a seamless, realistic look to it.

Within all of that, I need to be always thinking about will this work as whatever it's going to be (sculpture, jewelry, furniture), meaning how will it take to being molded, or to being cast; how heavy will it be; how will it get polished, or plated; how will it attach to whatever it's getting attached to; and most importantly, how will it last forever!

What were your thoughts or inspiration for the objects/materials used?
Right off the bat, I thought the Skully needed to be chrome. The first round was cast in a urethane plastic, than electroform plated with an antique nickel, and that was mounted on a 6-inch diameter ¼-inch powder-coated steel plate. Our timeline and budget were pretty tight, so both needed to be in the forefront at all times—mainly the timeline. It was pretty stressful, to be honest.

If you had an unlimited (or nicer) budget and more time, how would you have rendered the Skully differently? (Materials, processes?) Any additions? (Cross bones etc.?)
I wouldn't have changed a thing as far as how the Skully looks, I think it's perfect for what it is. Well, maybe I would have made it slightly larger (12 inches instead of 9) and cast in bronze rather than nickel-plated. The Skully is simple yet effective, something that catches your eye and instantly gets your blood flowing. I think it's the perfect representation of all the music that AP supports: bare-boned, stripped-down and in-your-face.

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