Sure, skulls and skeletons carry a certain postmortem weightiness, admits Eric Franklin (@ericfranklinstudio), a glass artist from Portland, Oregon. But Eric insists his work comes from an optimistic, intuitive and visceral place. “These pieces describe and define the dynamics and interconnection of everything that makes us human — from our bones to our psyche,” he says.

To make his luminous skulls, Eric starts with one glass tube, and then adds more of various diameters to slowly “draw” the piece. Once sculpted, which can take as many as 80 hours, the skull is sealed and filled with neon gas — each curve and ripple of the glass impacting how the light flows within. “I’ve deliberately chosen to keep the history of my hand in the glass,” says Eric. “The wrinkled surface not only gives the pieces a more lifelike feel, but it makes the light exponentially more interesting.”

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