Primary Materials: Cloth, glue, metal mesh, tape, phonebook paper, wax paper, paper napkins, lead sheets, acrylic paint.
This mask had a very acute moment of inspiration. I saw an animation of a pink cherry flower online and knew I had to make a mask with that color. I’m not sure why I reacted this way, as it was not the first time I have ever seen the color pink or cherry flowers.
There are five tentacles on the head to represent the flower’s five petals. As for the general sweeping shape of the tentacles, I drew inspiration from a hairstyle I thought had an interesting asymmetry to it. (Yes, this is my second project partly inspired by a haircut.)
I thought it would be funny to make the face shaped like a heart. I knew I was going to put mesh in the eyes, so I used this opportunity to disregard human proportions and go big.
One challenge I’ve always had with these types of masks is getting them to be as smooth as I want. Rounding off small shapes that I create out of bits of aluminum foil or paper is tough. Things tend to get lumpy. So for this one I decided to use homemade paper-napkin mache as a non-structural filler that I could easily sculpt into smooth shapes. I’m happy with this solution—it doesn’t add too much weight but allows me to make shapes that are hard to do otherwise.
This is the first mask I’ve made which is intentionally highly asymmetric. That created a problem that I didn’t anticipate starting out. Even though the tentacles are made from paper and tape, they do add up in terms of weight, especially because they reach outward. This makes the mask want to lean sideways. Not enough to pull your head over, but enough to make it sit wrong.
I discovered this early enough in the process that I was able to come up with a solution. I glued lead sheets into the other side. It took a surprisingly large amount of weight to balance things out. Health risk? It’s sealed under tape, cloth, glue, and paint, so I probably won’t be rushed off to the hospital too soon.
For painting I did the thinned-out paint technique that I have used multiple times before. Although on this project I also performed some dry brushing to spread the purple around to my satisfaction, and ended up painting the face straight red, brushing on a little purple afterward to soften it slightly.
This has an adjustable elastic chin strap glued inside. It’s the first time I’ve put a strap on something that doesn’t need it to be wearable. The strap lowers the comfort level a bit, as to be useful it needs to be somewhat tight; but it greatly raises the sticking power of the mask. Indeed, I can turn my head upside down and this won’t fall off, and I can move quickly or expressively without it rattling around. It feels more like a “performance” mask than anything I’ve made, so any trade off in comfort is well worth it.