Stern Slate

Oval grey papier-mache mask with curving vertical ridges on its forehead and cheeks.

Primary materials: Papier-mache, acrylic paint.

I made this mask around 2008 to test a new painting technique. I wanted something with ridges and valleys, to roughly simulate the shapes on a more complicated project that I didn’t want to mess up with bad painting.

I freestyled some forms that I thought looked interesting. This was always intended to be a test mask. It’s less than an inch deep, so you need the physiognomy of Thomas the Tank Engine to wear it. Looking back on the design, I think the two ridges on the lower half of the face are a little too arbitrary, but I’m otherwise happy with it.

For the painting I applied several thin layers of thinned-out paint, wiping off some sections with a cloth, and building up others more thickly. This is essentially the same technique I later used on several cloth-mache masks.

Right front of grey mask. It is very flat with almost no internal space for a wearer's face.