While the human skull is typically employed artistically as a memento mori, a reminder of mortality, the artwork of Marie-Pascale Gautheron is a victory over decay. The artist, who professionally uses the abbreviated name MP Gautheron, has depicted the form in her two-dimensional paintings as well as her hand-decorated plaster sculptures (pictured below), giving the shape new life with vibrantly colorful patterns, creating glorious celebrations of life. And this is a concept that she has since transitioned perfectly onto art toy forms.

Hand-Painted Designer Toys

In 2013, a French collector commissioned Gautheron to decorate a 1000% Bearbrick plastic toy with her precise patterning, a meticulous array of acrylic paint dots. And while this form might not be symbolic of death, it is inherently lifeless, a mass-produced corporate creation awaiting that spark only an artist can provide. Since that initial venture, Gautheron has continued to experiment with toy-like forms, occassionally bringing these hand-painted pieces closer to her aesthetic by working on art toys featuring skull-esque elements, such as her decorated version of Ron English‘s MC Supersized (pictured below).

MP Gautheron - Custom MC Supersized (original figure by Ron English)

Photo: MP Gautheron

Furthering her alteration of the grim into something joyous, Gautheron periodically employs black light reactive paints, allowing the darkness to illuminate a new beauty in the work.

MP Gautheron’s Bearbricks with Skulls

Finding a way to merge all these aspects together, Gautheron has hand-painted 1000% Bearbrick forms that she’s modified by affixing a plaster skull to the chest area of. And this configuration feels perfect for her style, the never-alive and the once-alive conjoined, reborn under the artist’s steady hand.

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