Max Lehman

Red Skeleton with Black Birds

Sante Fe, NM
Handbuilt clay, paint, wire

“Skeletons are a recurring theme in my work. My fascination with skeletons and skulls is primarily from exposure to Mexican culture and immersion in the underground music scene. I do not see skeletons as a representation of death. This work is a tribute to the Mexican folk artist Alfonso Castillo. The work is based upon an ancient pre-Columbian form of a crouching skeleton. The red color on this piece recalls the mineral cinnabar that was frequently rubbed on the body of deceased nobles to prepare them for the journey to the afterlife. The marigolds are associated with the Dia de los Muertos. The majority of my work is figurative, which I believe comes from a childhood love for cartoons and puppets. This work is in my signature cartoon style and my construction incorporates some techniques employed in Mexican folk art, such as the use of wires fired into the piece for the bird’s legs.” Originally from Fort Knox, Kentucky, Max Lehman currently lives in New Mexico. While majoring in media arts at Arizona State University, Lehman also studied pre-Columbian art history. In addition to pursuing his work in clay, he is Webmaster at the New Mexico Tourism Department.