how art changes the way we think about death

mixed media suga skulls
In this blog post, I show you how I created a series of sugar skulls based on the day of the dead folklore. This sugar skull art is part of the Mexican tradition of Día de Muertos, or Day of the dead.

The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November 2, in connection with All Souls’ Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls (like this one), marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.

Although this may be the origin of the holiday, my art is not intended to be morbid, scary or goth.

mixed media suga skulls
Here are the mixed media artworks in progress. I like to work in a series in order to try out different ideas. I also like documenting my progress to tell the story of how the art was created. You can see there is a colorful quilt like pattern underneath each skull with bright color combinations popular in Mexico.


mixed media suga skulls
Here they are again in the next stage. You can see that this one is not quite finished… she gets her finishing touches which you can see in the next photo. I like how you can see through the transparent white to peek at the layers underneath.
mixed media suga skulls
The skulls are derived from the folk lore of giving sugar skulls to celebrate day of the dead, but in my rendition, there is nothing scary or goth about them. The art celebrates life, color and culture.



mixed media suga skulls
The petite size makes this art perfect for your desk. (SOLD)


mixed media suga skulls
The sides are painted so you do not have to frame it if you don’t want to… but of course you can anyway.

The art is colorful and happy– its small size makes it easy to display on a shelf or any other spot in your home where you want some ethnic color.
mixed media suga skulls
These two are the only ones I have in stock right now. The other two have already sold and are in private collections. (save on this art)
Want to save on this art right now? let me email you the latest coupon


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Hey, I’m Miriam Schulman and I create mixed media art to tell stories. I also teach other people how to craft their stories with art. I give them the techniques they need to get the results they desire which brings more joy to their lives. 

My art has been published by Somerset StudioArt of Man and the New York Times among others and collected by an international audience. When I’m not working on art in my studio, you’ll find me in a museum spending time with friends or family. Explore my art at or join the fun at


0 thoughts on “how art changes the way we think about death”

  1. Oh wow, how interesting. The artwork is one thing, but explaining about death with your artwork is a whole different ballgame, and very unique I thing it's a great way to explain it to children this way too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. That is so cool! I actually got to go to the real 'Casa Azul' in Mexico City recently. It's such an eye-opening exhibition. And this one looks almost as good! Did you see and of the hand-made clothes she made to support her broken spine? They were a highlight for me.

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  3. Skulls you think scary/ goth This is not the case this time. love all the colors. This would be great look for a teen room

  4. I really like your renditions of these skulls. The colors are vibrant and full of life – definitely not dark and scary.

  5. These are some interesting art pieces. I remember seeing a lot of pieces like these on our last trip to Mexico.

  6. I like Frida's art! She really embraced that unibrow she had going on, didn't she? Hahaha, seriously though, I can imagine how disappointing it must be to go to an artists exhibition and not be able to take a piece home with you, whether it be a photo, print or postcard! It looks like your family had a great time, though, and experiences are the most important memories to take with you!

  7. I have never heard of Frida before, but belated birthday wishes! I always enjoy learning about new people and what they do, especially where the arts are concerned! I could literally spend hows viewing art works and special pieces as I think all reveal something about the artists and there is always an interesting story!

  8. Awwwww interesting to know the story behind your art work!!! I just love these skull designs. I just love art like this 🙂

  9. I totally agree that art changes the way we think/feel about many emotions and experiences! Art is so important! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Wow it looks like you had a fabulous time! I love painting and would have totally loved being at this exhibit! And yes… it was most likely a prop paintbrush… I think 😛 The important thing is that you didn't get kicked out haha!

  11. I love going to artist-specific exhibitions like these. You get the chance to really get immersed in their life and art. Looks like it was a wonderful trip and Frida Kahlo was such an interesting woman. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. I love the top. It looks very comfortable. Looks like you all had so much fun in the exhibit. I enjoyed looking at your photos and it made me wish I was there right now taking photos and enjoying tacos.

  13. Thank you for explaining the background behind your artwork. You are correct-they are not the least bit scary and they certainly are colorful.

  14. This really made me look at this artwork differently. I've always seen it and just moved on thinking it was just skulls but I can see the beauty in it after your explanation!

  15. Death is such a complicated emotional experience – especially in many western cultures. I am really liking the artwork. Thank you for sharing!


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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity, learn new skills and techniques, and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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