Noreen Miller, THE SUN
No bones about it, North Carolina artist Louis St.Lewis has an unusual pastime- turning human bones into morbid works of art.
"Dead people are one of our most abundant natural resources and it is high time we stated taking advantage of them," remarks the 27 year old who has been working with bones for more than a year and a half.
Louis works primarily with human bones, but has been known to use animals on occasion.
"I'm quite surprised at the number of people who want to buy human bones art work" , admits the not-so-starving artist.
Decorated skulls can go for as high as $6,000 while knuckle bone works can be hand carted away for the low price of $250.
" I don't believe in wasting anything." he notes.
Louis' work, "Postmortem Portrait of Andy Warhol", features a human skull covered with Coca-Cola bottle caps, semi-precious stones, and sterling silver. It was recently included in his successful New York exhibit in Soho's gallery district.
"There is really nothing new," says Louis. " Many cultures such as the Aztecs and the Chinese, decorated the bones of their heroes' The gilded bones of saints can be seen in churches throughout Europe today."
The artistic eccentric purchases his materials from surgical and biological supply houses. Louis tells the SUN he once bought crates of bones from India.
"They have the best." he claims " They have the best maggots there."
Louis studied in California and New York before making his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His next exhibition is scheduled for his home state at Raleigh.
" The way I see it , with AIDS and toxic waste everywhere, these are like the old plague years of Europe revisited. It's only natural that the morbid themes they used would resurface now".