Skeleton Heart is the collaborative pseudonym for artists Anthony and Lisa Parker.
Lisa was born in the south of England in Plaistow, East London in 1969 and Anthony was born in the north west of England in Morecambe, Lancashire in 1976.
At the age of 7, Anthony's first love was animation and he would spend hours alone in his bedroom, drawing and making plasticine figures that he would animate with a Bolex Super 8mm cine camera that his uncle had given him. His facination with moving pictures also developed into a love for sci-fi B-movies and eventually the darker side of film making in horror films. As a child, Anthony would stay up late watching Roger Corman's interpretations of Edgar Allen Poe's tales, becoming a fan of horror greats such as Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. Anthony's fascination with the horror genre grew and his bedroom walls were soon adorned with pictures of Freddy Krueger and things that would give most youngsters (and some adults) nightmares! He was just as fascinated by the horrific creations in these movies as he had been as a very young child by the animated creatures that inspired his love of drawing. This fascination grew and when Anthony dropped out of art collage aged 18, he moved to London with the intention of finding his way into a career creating monsters and gore for movies! Anthony has been working in the film industry as a creature and make-up effects artist since 1996. His credits include work on Saving Private Ryan, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Hellboy 2, Doctor Who, and Brad Pitt movies World War Z and Fury.
Lisa's love for art also started at a young age. She loved making things from as far back as she could remember and she too spent a lot of time in her bedroom drawing and also sewing. When she was very young, this usually involved making clothes for her Action Man or a weird plastic monkey she owned called 'Dave'. Growing up in the 80's she made most of her own clothes. Something that she said you could get away with back then! In her twenties, after meeting a great costume designer called Terry Emery, she took his advice and gave up her job as a window dresser to go to college. She ended up at the London College of Fashion. Lisa always had a love of animation, comics and fantasy films and counted Jim Henson's creations from the Muppets to the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth as inspiration and reasons for her wanting to create her own work. She was also hugely inspired by the work of Jamie Hewlett, particularly Tank Girl. Also the work of Tim Burton. She has been worked in the many areas of creature effects for over twenty years. Any kind of puppet always fascinated her and that was the main area she liked to work in. Especially anything to do with stop motion. Her credits include Hellboy 2, the Corpse Bride, Harry Potter, Dog Soldiers, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Doctor Who and 28 Days Later.
Anthony and Lisa had previously worked together on film and television projects in the field of special effects, creatures and prosthetics over a period of many years and found that they shared mutual interests and inspirations in many things from artists and animation to Victoriana and antiques. They eventually became a couple and in 2008, made their most life-like creation, their son Zack! In 2009, they made the decision to put their efforts into their own artwork and combine their creativity and skills, calling themselves Skeleton Heart.
This gave them a renewed sense of purpose with their personal artworks after becoming disheartened by the creative compromises that can come with working in the film industry. They fed off each others ideas and creativity, merging their individual styles and influences. The result are pieces that have a cartoony look with a distinctly emotive and darker side. Or 'cute but creepy' as they have been referred to by many.
In early 2015, Lisa was devastatingly diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (also known as ALS or MND). She sadly passed away in July 2017, with Anthony and Zack by her side. She fought bravely for two and a half years as this horrendous disease robbed her of everything, including the ability to make the things she loved so much. One of her wishes was that Anthony continue what they had both started with Skeleton Heart and breathe life into their cute and creepy creations once again.