For this project, I knew I wanted to play with the idea of duality, the dual existence of two characters that have a somewhat ambiguous relationship with each other. While this relationship clearly exists, the nature of it is unclear. Some possible interpretations include an alter ego, a warrior with it’s pelt/mask, or a character’s inner demon of sorts.
In terms of the actual construction of the project, I used a cheap paper mask from blick as the base, and built up from it with wireform and layered paper clay over it. For the top portion, I created a shell with wireform and stuffed aluminum foil in it, paper machéd over it, and layered paper clay over that. One particular challenge I had with the construction of it was working with the paper clay, as it would dry quickly but was fairly wet and slippery when it was still pliable. I wasn’t particularly drawn to the slightly crumbly texture of paper clay, but with a little patience, it gradually became easier to adhere the elements to the mask. For the details of the hair, I used felt, which was probably my favorite medium to apply to the mask.
At the mask’s first phase of completion, the bottom portion of the mask was completely white. While this suited my original intentions, it did look incomplete. Ultimately, I decided to paint the flowers with a similar color scheme as the top portion of the mask to maintain a sense of continuity. I also added some ivory/off-white paint to the base of the mask to achieve a more finished look.
Initially, I had trouble with having the mask stay on with just ribbon, so I bought some heavy duty velcro, which definitely helped.
The top portion of the mask is partially inspired by Chinese lion dance masks, and uses some of the motifs such as including furry elements with smooth elements, the structured eyebrows and the wide eyes. I included some element of pattern to tie the look together and add some more interest to the final look. The gradient that sits atop the eyes for the bottom portion of the mask is reminiscent of the makeup style used in Cantonese opera, as seen below.