Help me find this clip-art skull.
June 12, 2012 8:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to determine the provenance of this clip-art skull.

This is quite a saga for one clip-art skull, and I know it's probably the long shot to end all long shots, but I'll share everything I know.

I first saw the image on CustomInk back in 2006, either by searching for "skull" or browsing their Halloween art. The image no longer appears to be in their library.

I called CustomInk to ask about it. The rep I talked to checked with the art department, who said it probably came from CSA Images. I searched for "skull" on CSA and found four pages worth of images, but not the one I was looking for, so I called them. The lady there told me in her kindly Minnesota Nice accent that she was 99% sure it wasn't one of theirs. Back to the drawing board.

I returned to CustomInk, and found a statement that read "Some of the images contained in the image gallery are property of OCA Enterprises." Armed with that, I began searching, but I soon learned that OCA Enterprises is no longer in business.

My next lead was Clipart deSIGN, on the grounds that their about page says "In September 2004 Clipart deSIGN licensed OCA Enterprises to publish and sell many of its original clipart collections under the OCA brand name." I promptly e-mailed Clipart deSIGN, but was told that the skull did not belong to them, and that they do not in fact have any art of skulls at all.

Google Image Search was similarly fruitless. The skull shows up in the image gallery of Olympus Board Shop's Myspace page, and here's a guy wearing it on a T-shirt in China. Otherwise, nothing.

Short of calling other clip-art companies at random, I'm stumped. Join me in my quest, AskMe, and let us find the skull together.
posted by Faint of Butt to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
So, I inverted the colors and popped it into google images, and found that something called "The Canadian Death Race" has it as their logo. Here's an image with their logo, that says "2000-2010 10th Anniversary". So, there's a possibility that the skull was made for the race, and it was stolen and repurposed as clipart. There's also the possibility that they didn't adopt the logo until later, and bought the art from the same source you found it. But here's a masthead on a letter with the skull, and it's dated 2007.

Other uses of the logo that were, in all probability, stolen:
Some hardcore metal band called Shadow Rose
A collection of short stories called MicroHorror
Someone on a french forum about music and anime has it as their logo, but added the words "west coast chicanos"
Heres a version with machine gun crossbones
and heres a version with devils horns.From a swedish message board about military-grade equipment, including some pretty crazy weapons, and I may now be on some sort of goverment list for visiting the site.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:59 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

enter the pic's url at it may give you some ideas where it has been used before, at least.
posted by virginia_clemm at 10:59 AM on June 12, 2012

Response by poster: Er... the MicroHorror logo is mine. I used the art from CustomInk. I just changed the logo on the site itself, but I still like the original skull, so I'm trying to figure out where it came from in the hopes that I can use it legally in the future.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:06 AM on June 12, 2012

This looks (too) eerily similar (stylized from) the SS Totemkampf,
posted by thylacine at 2:32 PM on June 12, 2012

I thought I'd see what I could find about OCA Enterprises.

OCA Enterprises was at (currently empty). But their website is in the Wayback Machine.

From their About Us page in 2008:
OCA Enterprises™ was founded in 1995 in Scottsdale, Arizona and is now headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.
Looking up the whois, the Technical Contacts are two people who live in Phoenix, Arizona. There's also two different phone numbers, and two email addresses. You could try contacting them and asking if the skull is theirs.

Also of possible interest is this older page from 2004, which says that OCA Enterprises' clipart is
specifically designed for the signage, screenprint, embroidery, engraving, auto graphics and automotive after market industries, as well as the digital printing, craft and other related industries.
Which would seem to suit the skull in question. I found four or five different t-shirt designs through TinEye that used it. Also, of vague interest but probably not relevant: the skull has been made into a fan grill for PCs by a German company called Sharkoon.

Good luck, and if you contact OCA, do let us know how it goes!
posted by Georgina at 2:00 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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