When we began our final studio project, we had decided on a list of ideas. As we progressed onwards with our researches involving sketches, techniques, materials and critiques, a definitive idea came about, and the next step was executing it. My final ideas basic concept was initially inspired by a visit to the Brooklyn Museum in a particular exhibition named Disguise: Masks and Global African Art. I was extremely fascinated by the incorporation of masks into such a vast culture that branched out into various narratives for each artist as a part of the exhibition. I came up with my idea eventually after I came across a quote that I was amazed by said by Alan Moore that, “You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.” The proposal was to show a person pulling and stretching their face with their own hands in an attempt to get rid of the exterior mask or personality they created for themselves, and only to find that what was left behind was emptiness and complete darkness.
A lot went to accomplishing this task including experimenting with materials I had never used before, observing how to effectively portray a stretched face, and more research on carrying the concept ahead.
Firstly, after the critiques we had on our rough ideas, I went material searching and decided on using one in particular called the Rigid Wrap. A high quality and adaptable plaster making cloth, it effectively molded itself into any shape, and dried within hours of use instead of within days given with the accelerated amount of time we had with the summer schedule.
My final idea sketch on the day of the critique
Firstly, I cut the plaster cloth into several long thin strips to try and see if it could effectively stick onto the mask I bought from a local art store so as to have a definite size for the strips to set into place. I then ran the strips under luke warm water, as seen below and placed it onto the mask for it to dry.
I could remove it and resize it to look like a stretched face, once I was done with the placement.
Eventually the mask would go on to look like this after a day of adjusting, drying and resizing.
What came next was trying to create a the lost identity as the interior part of the mask. I initially decided on painting the mask in particular manner for it to look like a TV in static motion. However, after the second round of critiquing our drafts, I went with painting it completely black instead as seen below.
The next step was to create the exterior part of the mask. I placed the strips of rigid wrap onto certain parts of plastic that I wanted the face to be visible. I sketched it onto bits of plastic, and placed rigid wraps on top of it so as to create a sturdy piece to place atop the interior mask.
This is a process of me working on doing so, and in the midst of all the mess.
Once I was done placing it and drying it, the next step was to stretch it once more, and then painting on the features of the certain parts of the face I intended on including.
This is the final stretched face piece.
What came next was to make the hand that was to pull the face. With the amount of time I had I would have included both the hands, but I made only the one as seen pulling the face to the right.
Repeating the same process as above, I began taking pieces of the skin to be placed on top of the hand. This was to show that only was the mask the only factor that was being forgotten, but the entire self as a part of it.
Once I was done with both the pieces, I placed onto a white installation board. As both of them were to heavy to be placed in a way that could be viewed vertically, and held by gravity, I decided on using thread to hold them in place. However, that didn’t work and so I resorted to using a glue gun instead in a strategic manner so as to hold them in place.
I had an interesting time putting this piece together. Working with a new form of material and placing my ideas into reality included a lot of time and effort, but it was worth it in the end as I was extremely proud of my piece. I would definitely like my piece to be placed in Grand Central instead of the MET as mentioned earlier in my assignments, because I feel with the wave of people rushing in all from different walks of life, and ages viewing this piece as seen in the place below, might make them think more about what they’ve just observed, and hopefully think more about the inspiration and concept behind it. This is a picture I took myself of the piece near a section of Grand Central with people passing by it.