Featured Artist Maria D’Souza

Using beads and other materials, artist Maria D’Souza adds pattern, texture and depth to animal skulls, creating one-of-a-kind pieces. Visit her website to view more.

 

"Chakras" Bead on Bone, 48" x 29" x 13" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Chakras” Bead on Bone, 48″ x 29″ x 13″

 

To me some of the most beautiful things I have seen occur in nature. By using the skulls of the world’s most iconic big game animals as my raw form, I strive to take the beauty that nature has provided and take it to the next level. I breathe new life into each piece using symmetry, depth, motion and color.

 

"Copper Impala" Bead on Bone, 15" x 29" x 9" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Copper Impala” Bead on Bone, 15″ x 29″ x 9″

 

What inspires me most is supernatural beauty of the natural world. I have been very fortunate in that I have lived in, studied and created art in so many varied locales including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, London, The Turks & Caicos and Goa. Never feeling tethered to one country, I have traveled extensively, especially throughout Africa. It was there that I fell in love with seeing and photographing the majestic animals of the plains.

 

"Diamondback Longhorn" Bead on Bone, 55" x 29" x 14" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Diamondback Longhorn” Bead on Bone, 55″ x 29″ x 14″

 

Having moved to the United States in 2010, I became enamored with the Southwest and the art forms native to the region.

 

"Yellowstone Whitetail" Bead on Bone, 15" x 19" x 11" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Yellowstone Whitetail” Bead on Bone, 15″ x 19″ x 11″

 

Historically, my medium was oil painting and mixed media. It wasn’t until my husband came in with a deer skull that he found on a hike and asked me to paint it like some of the pieces we had seen in Arizona and New Mexico that I started doing the work I do now.

 

"Ovis Sunrise" Bead on Bone, 28" x 16" x 10" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Ovis Sunrise” Bead on Bone, 28″ x 16″ x 10″

 

I love texture in my work so I was not content with just painting the skull. I had experimented with making beaded jewelry in the past, and so I incorporated beading and other materials to add depth and texture to the piece. I photographed the embellished skull and sent it to friends in various parts of the world. Within a couple of days I had an offer on that piece and was commission for three more works.

 

"Ovis Sunrise" (Detail) Bead on Bone, 28" x 16" x 10" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Ovis Sunrise” (Detail) Bead on Bone, 28″ x 16″ x 10″

 

With each new artwork I strive to do something different, not only with design but also by using materials I have not used before.

 

"Birdsey Blesbock" Bead on Bone, 11" x 23" x 9" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Birdsey Blesbock” Bead on Bone, 11″ x 23″ x 9″

 

I am often asked by clients and designers if I can sketch out the design for them ahead of time. The truth is I cannot, because at best I have only a rough concept of how it is going to turn out. My creative process is very organic as the design begins to take shape only after I start working on the piece.

 

"Mohave Pearl Oryx" Bead on Bone, 21" x 48" x 10" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Mohave Pearl Oryx” Bead on Bone, 21″ x 48″ x 10″

 

When I don’t see the next step ahead, I have to walk away for a bit. Often ideas will come to me in my sleep and I will wake up, go out to my studio, and work till the sun comes up.

 

"Red Desert Pronghorn" Bead on Bone, 10" x 13" x 13" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Red Desert Pronghorn” Bead on Bone, 10″ x 13″ x 13″

 

I wanted to take an art form that was often just seen as rustic and make it contemporary. I wanted to create fine art on a form that was not usually considered for that.

 

"Prayer to the Whirlwind" Bead on Bone, 25" x 26" x 10" by artist Maria D’Souza. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Prayer to the Whirlwind” Bead on Bone, 25″ x 26″ x 10″

 

Two recent accomplishments have validated those goals for me, a commission for the focal piece you see as you enter the most expensive luxury residential high-rise in Denver, Colorado, known as The Confluence, and having my work accepted into the prestigious C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.

 

Artist Maria D’Souza invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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