Deface yourself: the Wreck This Journal entry that’s sugary sweet.


Sugary sweet: memories, mementos and minty green sugar skulls for the ‘Wreck This Journal’ entry.

Deep down I truly hate defacing things. I don’t see any purpose in it even if it is some artsy, sociopolitical statement. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate or understand a good political statement involving the defamation of a beautiful image/ sculpture/visual/architectural masterpiece…the list is endless…but as a real appreciator of anything involving art, I just don’t see the point. Therefore, when trying to think of a way to deface my own picture, for Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal, I came to a bit of a standstill.

Playing on my Spotify playlist at this very moment was one of my favorite songs: “Prayer in C” by Lilly Wood & The Prick – the Robin Schulz Remix. This is important to this little story as it inspired the eventual outcome of the Wreck This Journal entry.

Prayer in C is one of my favorites as it was being played a lot on the radio whilst my boyfriend (now husband) and I went on our very first holiday to Germany – Berlin – to be exact, and spent the most amazing time there. It was undoubtedly, one of the most amazing cities we had ever been to and I came home with a lovely shiny diamond and sapphire engagement ring. The holiday was the type of holiday that is ingrained into your memory; the smells, the food, the weather, the sights, the sounds.

What I found most remarkable about the song, which I didn’t find out until after our holiday, was that the video was set in Berlin! It was so surreal. So that particular song and all its visuals always reminds me of our trip to Berlin. In the video we see the sights of Berlin by being guided by a group of 20somethings dressed beautifully, with sugar skulls painted on their faces. Now this is where the idea of ‘defacing’ comes into play.

Sugar skulls are worldly known from the festival of Dia de Los Muertos – the day of the dead. 

Sugar skulls are worldly known from the festival of Dia de los Muertos – the day of the dead. During the first two days in November, (when a large percentage of the world’s population have just celebrated Halloween) for those celebrating Dia de los Muertos, death isn’t something to be feared. Instead, death is seen as a natural cycle of life. And Dia de los Muertos helps the living celebrate the loved ones who have died. In the past, participants and dancers used careteas, or masks, to scare the dead away at the end of the festivities. But in modern-day celebrations, people paint their faces to look like skulls, decorating it to represent a deceased loved one or an expression of themselves.

One might say that to paint a skull over your own face could be a way of defacing your own image, but to do it using these beautiful sugar skulls with flourishes, swirls, patterns, flowers and colours is hardly ugly. So, I set about recreating my own little memento of that wonderful time in Berlin, by using one of the photos from that holiday, taking inspiration from the ‘prayer in C’ lyrics, the sugar skull imagery and set about defacing my picture.


  1. Photograph.
  2. Biro.
  3. Pencil.
  4. Watercolour paints.
  5. Brushes. (variety of sizes)
  6. Fineliner pens – small nib. (Variety of colours)

It wasnt until I really thought about this Wreck This Journal entry, that I was able to come to a suitable decision about how to ‘glue in a photo of myself and deface’. I found this entry hard to grasp and come up with a ‘beautiful’ piece of artwork that may do the journal some justice.  Instead though, the entry has becoming much more meaningful, and I think I prefer it this way. I reckon, by the end of the Journal’s completion, my version of the Wreck This Journal will become more personal and meaningful then I ever thought it would.

If you were hesitant to buy this journal because you thought it was truly all about ‘wrecking’ the thing, think again, by being a little creativity, this journal can allow you to create pieces of work you would have never dreamed.

Having the song playing at that moment in time was clearly a sign from some other worldliness. Ultimately, the song is about death, the afterlife and God’s forgiveness to mankind. Seems fitting that the youngsters in the video are portraying a cultural symbol of appreciating those who have passed over.

For me, this entry and its thought process behind it is a fine balance between Art and Science, Subjective and Objective, Ugliness and Beautifulness, Creativity and Destruction, Life and Death.



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