Jordan Stratton is an artist through and through. His workspace is filled with projects, paint and inspiration. A few old newspaper articles catch our eye, articles talking about some of Jordan’s mural work from his hometown. The articles talk about how this young artist made a difference and are filled with accolades. An old chair next to the drafting table is covered with old paint in various shades as well as few holes where the foam sticks out.
As your eyes adjust to the light of the studio, you begin to see all of the skulls. A buffalo horn peeking out on one side, another skull soaking in a bucket, deer skulls from clients waiting to be transformed into the artwork that Jordan is becoming known for. His work is now being exhibited at a gallery in Santa Fe, NM and people are starting to take serious notice of his skull work. This week, when we caught up with Jordan again, he was doing a skull focused on the “Nightmare Before Christmas.”
I met Jordan online about a year ago or so and I really liked what I saw from him so I sent him one of my bear skulls. I showed him a few photos of the skull Jana Waller did for us and I showed him the skull that Nevada Grassie had done for us. I told him that all three of these black bear skulls are going to be on the same shelf and someday they would all be donated to a conservation organization to be auctioned off to raise money for wildlife. I gave him a blank slate and let him go to town, more about that later. Skull artistry is a passion of Jordan Stratton and his passion shines through in every single piece he works on.
Jordan, where did you grow up?
I was born and raised here in Pueblo Colorado. Grew up on West St. in a house that had a backyard that looked like the forest. I’d spend most of the day climbing trees and hiding like a ninja. Doing flying sidekicks. Built a few boobie traps just for fun. Fun until my friend and I accidentally caught his mom in a pit we had dug and covered with long grasses and leaves.
How did that work out?
She almost broke her leg. We were in trouble, but not as much trouble as we would have been if we had put sharpened sticks in it like we were planning. We weren’t even thinking about catching people or hurting anyone. We were just trying to hone our survival skills at a young age.
Have you kept up your love for the outdoors?
I love to fish, anywhere there is water. Give me some frozen little shrimps, worms, and a cooler full of beer and I know it’ll be a great day no matter what. When I’m not fishing, I’m working from home as a full time artist/ professional dad, so really it can be like having two full time jobs.
How old are your kids?
I have a four year old son and a two year old daughter. They keep me busy and drive me crazy, but damn I love them. I also have a beautiful wife who supports me in everything I want to do with my art and helps me keep my sanity. So usually I hang out with my family and get the majority of my work done during naptime and after bedtime. Occasionally I’ll work in the living room while the kids watch cartoons.
Skulls in the living room, you do have a supportive wife. What do the kids think about the skulls?
They love seeing my work and they get excited to see the skulls come in boxes and then they see them when they are all done. It’s pretty awesome to see them connecting with my work.
Looking at your portfolio it looks like you do a lot of different kinds of art. What is it that got you focusing on skull art?
Well I have this buddy who had a trophy elk skull that he had gotten mounted and wanted to do something with. He asked if I could paint it with a Colorado theme. He brought it over and this thing was beautiful. A huge six by six bull that was just awesome. He was going to have to hang it in his garage per wife’s request so he wanted it to really pop. So I just got on it, thought it over and laid it out. It was a little nerve racking the first time around to be painting someone’s prized hunting piece, but man it just came out great. It had mountains, pine trees, and a raised relief of the Colorado “C” with a matching paint job on the wooden mount. I was really happy with it and had fun creating this piece. My buddy who was the client loved it and so did his wife so it actually ended up getting a proud spot inside their home. I put a lot of my work and my progression pics on facebook and it turns out we weren’t the only ones who loved it. Things just kind of took off from there. I did a number of commissioned and non commissioned skulls and built my skills as I moved from skull to skull.
I can see that these skulls are all really different. What inspires each new piece?
A number of things really. Usually a client has an animal and an idea of what they want so we talk, I look at the skull and I usually just get a vision inspired from what my client is telling me. It’s a really fun creative process that the client is involved in as we bounce ideas off of each other until I have a general concept that the client is happy with. Then i just take it from there.
Where do you see your skull art going?
Everywhere. I have pieces in homes, businesses and am currently in a gallery in New Mexico. The possibilities are just endless. What I really love is that when I’m doing my skull art I really feel like I’m doing something positive and I enjoy doing it. I feel like I am honoring that animal and just giving it another life. Like another chance to be admired after death the way is was in life. Especially when I work with someone who has an animal that they have hunted. They each have their own story and their own connection to a skull even before there is any of my artwork involved,. And to add to that and bring their story to life, and to bring the animal to life with it is really what I love about what I’m doing. I love to work with hunters but I also work with ranchers, cowboys, artists, Native Americans and folks who have never hunted a day in their life and just appreciate seeing a skull and having it as art.
The bear skull, I own that Jordan Stratton has transformed is absolutely not the last skull that he is going to do for me. The next great elk and mule deer that I take are going to be transformed by Jordan into something for the HuntingLife.com office. Of all of my skulls, our kids all love Jordan’s skull the best, the arrows and the feathers pop and their eyes gravitate right to it. I love all three of my skulls, they are all amazing and I am proud to have Jordan’s work in my collection and I look forward to having him work on some more projects for us.
If you have a European skull that you would really like to pop and become art on the wall, contact Jordan via email or through his Facebook Page. We know you will be impressed with the work that this artist can do. I also believe Jordan is going places quickly so someday his work is going to be far more valuable. How cool is to think that your hunting skull could someday be worth a ton of money as art?
Contact Jordan here: