by Jay Edlin (and Monica LoCascio)
Unidentified to date, and pathologically wary of cameras and interviewers, the man behind the iconic Skullphone image remains a mystery. Skullphone is known to carry fake identification and allegedly uses up to three pseudonyms at any given time, never giving his real name at an event or on an art-show flyer.
Based in Southern California, Skullphone has been wheatpasting, stenciling, and stickering his stark image of a skull talking on a cellphone for almost a decade. Skullphone was also responsible for a series of stickers and posters that appeared around New York, advertising a gate-installation service and bearing an 800 number that delivered the caller to a mystifying voice recording. Skullphone moved into billboard liberation and high-stakes installation in 2008, when he hacked ten Clear Channel billboards in Los Angeles and placed his name into the series of ads that flashed on the screens.
A classically trained painter, Skullphone has recently been branching out into oil painting, spearheading a new labor-intensive style of imagery that utilizes the color pixels found in LCD screens to create the deceptive effect of an electronically glowing painting.
-Ed Koch photo by Jay Edlin, 2011