MA ART & SCIENCE
MY FACE, YOUR FACE
concept face mask
From the beginning of the current pandemic, when we all started to wear face coverings, I remember talking to some friends and telling them “i’m going to miss seeing your face”. Such a simple thought, but I really meant it. Fast forward to the start of this school year, my first year of MA and after a week or two of meeting my new classmates online we had the chance to collect our student I.D’s and meet each other in person. I remember walking into the studio and trying to match names to eyes and hair colour as they were the only thing in view. We all decided to go for a drink to get to know each other better and as we stepped outside, masks came off (still social distanced of course). There was a certain feeling when that happened, almost excitement just seeing everyone’s lower half of their face. There’s just something about meeting someone new and automatically take in their facial features. It’s such a simple thought but definitely a thought that crosses my mind more often than it should. I simply miss seeing people’s faces.
Now that mask wearing is the norm, those stand-out features are hidden behind a covering. Rightfully so, for the obvious health and safety of others. But what if we could see a strangers face again while still being safe? Or seeing the features of a friend or family member safely?
My Face, Your Face is a concept face mask i’ve created to give us the opportunity to see someone’s wonderful face again.
As of now, this is just a concept. It’s not practical to wear in public but I hope to develop this face mask into a mask that is durable and safe.
During this Open Studio I will be experimenting with different materials and presenting my process.
- my process is based on my knowledge of prosthetic making.
I will be updating and adding more to this page through out the next couple of months so do check-in :)
First Attempt Using Gelatine
I decided to experiment with gelatine first because it allowed room for problems without wasting material. Gelatine is also a cheaper alternative when it comes to prosthetic making. As it was my first try, I knew that the possibility of messing up was high and if I had to start over I could re-use the gelatine instead of binning it if, for example, I were to attempt to make it with silicone or foam.
In this video I’m casting my face in preparation for a face mould.
After removing the cast from my face, I then filled it with plaster to create the ‘Positive’ mould.
To get the negative cast, I created a wall around the positive cast with monster clay, I then wrapped the exterior with plaster bandage to secure the clay. Once the plaster bandage had set, I mixed plaster and poured it in.
Positive and negative cast.
The meltable gelatine
I applied a this layer of vaseline as a release agent on both casts. After heating the gelatine in the microwave, I poured it into the negative cast then placed the ppsitive cast on top. This ensures I get the correct shape and fit to my face.
The gelatine set.
I cleaned and powdered the gelatine to prep for colouring. I used Kryolan Supracolor makeup palette. Once painted, I added the elastics to both sides of the face.
Pros and cons of first attempt:
- IT WORKED!
- Gelatine is easy to work with.
- Not as time consuming as I first thought.
- Not durable at all. Sides began to rip after a couple of wears.
- Not realistic looking.
Mask in Silicone
Same casting process done previously.
Materials: Alginate and Plaster Bandage
Same process done previously, up until the negative and positive cast. From there, I mixed equal parts silicone A & B with no softener as I wanted the silicone to be thick and durable. I pre-coloured the silicone lightly by adding pigment a shade lighter than the model’s skin tone. I poured the silicone into the negative cast in layers. Once set, I coloured the mask using Kryolan supra colours.
Separate process video of silicone mixing and pre-colouring silicone
Pros and Cons
- Silicone is durable
- More realistic than gelatine
- Colouring with makeup is temporary and smudges
- Silicone was heavy as I had added loads of layers to make sure it would be thick enough
Mask in Silicone- Painted with Acrylic
The process for creating this silicone mask is the same as the previous mask.
- Casting the bottom half of face
- Filling the mould with plaster
- Positive and negative casts
- Mixing equal parts Silicone A & B without softener. Except this time, I added less layers of silicone so it wouldn’t be too heavy.
- Pre colouring the silicone with a pigment a shade lighter than the model’s skin tone for a good base tone.
Colouring the mask:
For this mask, I decided to paint it with acrylic paints for permanent colour.
I colour matched the paint to her makeup foundation colour because for the final outcome photos, she’ll be wearing makeup.
Once I mixed the colours to match her foundation, I added pros-aid to the paint. Pros-aid is used to seal the paint when colouring a silicone prosthetic.
Pros colouring with acrylic paint:
- Paint sticks better to silicone
- More realistic
Colouring with Acrylic part 2
(Process the same as previous)
The idea of this short video is to showcase a bit of normality while wearing a mask.
I believe that during difficult times, especially what we’re all experiencing now, mental health is such a huge concern and feeling a sense of normalcy is a good thing.
The main focus in the video, other than “daily routine”, is applying lipstick.
As someone that loves wearing makeup and knowing so many people that miss it, having your own face as a mask can allow us to do that again. It’s something so small, but again, it’s about feeling normal for the sake of our mental health.