Artist Creates Giant “Memento Mori” Drawing of a Skeleton Filled With Plant Life

Skeleton Drawing by Guno Park

Artist and professor Guno Park is known for his expressive, yet detailed ballpoint pen drawings of people and sights in New York City. In addition to capturing real-life subjects, however, he also makes illustrations that explore deep concepts, such as life and death. His 85 x 51.5 inch graphite drawing entitled Nature of Things is one such piece. It depicts a human skeleton filled with thriving plant life.

“Putting the skeleton together with vine, leaves, and flowers represents for me the power of nature and its inevitability of continuum. I find comfort in nature,” the artist says. Human skulls are commonly used in the tradition of memento mori, which serve as reminders in paintings that we will all die one day. By filling his skeleton with vegetation, Park contrasts death with new life.

Within the large-scale drawing are dozens of pencil hatch marks. Park uses this shading technique to give his subject depth, adding to its incredible realism. “This drawing has been a journey—as many drawings are—that started a little more than a year ago…I think our whole world was reminded of how close death can be, and I had a constant reminder of it on the news and media,” he continues.

You can see more art via Park's portfolio, and keep up to date with his latest creations by following the artist on Instagram.

Brooklyn-based artist Guno Park created an incredible drawing of a human skeleton filled with flowers, vines, and leaves using only a graphite pencil.

Skeleton Drawing by Guno ParkSkeleton Drawing by Guno ParkSkeleton Drawing by Guno ParkSkeleton Drawing by Guno ParkSkeleton Drawing by Guno ParkSkeleton Drawing by Guno ParkGuno Park: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Guno Park.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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