Thursday, April 4, 2013

If looks could kill

"I wish everyday could be Halloween. 
We could all wear masks all the time. 
Then we could walk around and get to know each other 
before we got to see what we looked like under the masks." 

                                                           ---R.J. Palacio

Self portrait in Medusa mask 4-3-13

I am  supposed to be cleaning my workspace. For about two weeks I've been meaning to get to it. But I keep getting distracted. It doesn't take much. There's so much fun stuff competing for my attention. Like my Medusa mask. Come on. Be honest. How much housework have you avoided because you were distracted by your Medusa mask?

Oh, you mean it's just me?


I made this mask in 2012 as part of my 365 days project, "No Day Without Art." It is  made of papier-mâché clay over a wire armature. It is very heavy. It is very cool.

Self portrait in Medusa mask 2-6-12
I wore this mask once for some self portraits after I made it. I frizzed out my hair, put on body paint and looked pretty convincingly badass as the Gorgon whose looks could (literally) kill. (see photo, right)

The UPS man rang the bell while I was in costume, and I toyed with answering the door. But I didn't. I stayed hidden instead. What if he looked directly into my masked face and dropped dead on my doorstep? How ya gonna explain that to the nice officer? I didn't need that kind of hassle and was in no mood to clean up a mess.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if we could wear masks that reflected our moods, our states of being, like in the old Greek theater days where the actor's mask outwardly projected what was going on inside the character's emotional and psychological reality?

I truly believe that wearing a literal, obvious mask like that would be far more honest and open way of being. It would definitely be better than the way we keep trying to fake everybody out with our own self-induced masks of cheerfulness or patience or happiness or stability or whatever.

What about those days when you feel super unattractive? When your eyes are all puffy because you slept like shit. Wouldn't it be nice to just be like,"I look like a Gorgon today, so might as well wear the mask." Because a Gorgon mask is so much cooler than regular-old puffy sleep-deprived-I-look-like-shit morning face.

Am I wrong?

And if we wore masks whenever we wanted to, maybe nice people would give us candy all the time, even if it wasn't Halloween.


I love wearing masks. I love making masks. I have made several: theater masks, skull masks, Medusa, leather fetish masks, masks from found objects and recycled paintings, full face, half face. I want to explore Medusa some more with other materials.

I like to make masks in Spring and Summer, when the weather is warm enough for the masks to dry quickly outdoors. So I am rooting for Spring to win this endless battle with Winter, who is digging her heels in way too deep for me. I wish she'd just let it go already.

Maybe I should put on the Medusa mask and go outside and give Winter a good hard  looking at. Then maybe the bitch would finally die and I could just get on with it and make some new masks.

But first I have to clean my room.