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Artist uses skulls as canvas – ‘I get attached to the skulls while I paint them’

A chance sequence of events led Jacqueline Chantler into a whole new career as a creative artist and founder of 'Kop'.

George-based Chantler uses bovine skulls as her canvas, decking them out in gorgeous patterns with paint and beads.

Chantler tells Bruce Whitfield the idea was sparked when her sister's children started drawing on skulls they'd picked up on her father's Free State farm after a number of cows died.

I thought this could be a great idea. Nobody wants the skulls, people throw them away… and then I started practising. I made some for friends and the reaction was great!

Jacqueline Chantler, Founder – Kop

I thought I've always wanted to start a business and I've never seen anything like this… and that's how it started!

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Jacqueline Chantler, Founder – Kop

Chantler describes her work as a spiritual journey.

I actually get attached to the skulls while I paint them… Even just a plain white skull with the brown horns is a lovely decorative piece…

Jacqueline Chantler, Founder – Kop

People were skeptical about it, saying it's not my thing… but the more you look at it, the more it grows on you.

Jacqueline Chantler, Founder – Kop

Chantler says her artwork is mainly influenced by her travels.

She has a range of around 15 designs – you'll find everything from a 'Klimt kop' to Delft designs and, of course, African-inspired pieces.

Clients often add their own specifications for a custom-made piece.

I've travelled all over the world and I think in my life before I was a Mexican, because I love Mexican colours, the music, all the patterns…

Jacqueline Chantler, Founder – Kop

I've got an Africana skull as well with these geometric patterns… It almost feels to me like it's a mask.

Jacqueline Chantler, Founder – Kop

"I'm open for everything with the skulls and every time I do a skull that's different for someone, it gives me new ideas."

See more of Chantler's work on her website koppe.co.za.

Listen to the interview with the artist on The Money Show:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Artist uses skulls as canvas – 'I get attached to the skulls while I paint them'

Artmotion S.Africa

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