10.19.2008

Weekend Frivolities: Making a Mask for Halloween, Part Two - The Finished Project


In the previous post I explained the steps for making a Halloween mask in the Venetian method. Those who followed along may have found the process complicated. So it is. Creating a sculpture and then fashioning a plaster mold that will likely destroy the sculpture seems pointless. It is not. All one has to do in the future is to line the mold with strips of glue and paper, creating a new mask to paint and decorate. One can then use the mold repeatedly, making an infinite variety of masks based on the basic shape. The basic shape I demonstrated is that of a large mixed breed dog, part Rottweiler, part Chow-Chow, but I also have made ones of a tabby cat and a toy fox terrier. The large mixed breed dog and cat mask molds are large enough for making adult masks. The terrier masks fit only children.

Yesterday, we left off at the point where the mask needed to be decorated. I explained that for Halloween I was making a mask based on the ghost of Warhol's fictional Superstar dog, Sparko Violet. I totally made all this up. Making up a fictional or mythical character allows for a lot of leeway in the mask-making department.

See previous post for Steps 1-6

7. Paint two basic coats of a neutral color on the mask. Let dry. Use a quick-drying flat paint.

8. Make aesthetic decisions. I decided that Sparko Violet needed several qualities. I wanted the mask to look a little like Warhol but also to retain its dog-ness. I wanted some 70s'-era glamour and some androgyny. Dogs are good that way, because people are always confusing my girl dog for a boy and my boy dog for a girl. And because it's Halloween, and the theme of the Village Halloween Parade this year is GHOSTS, I wanted the mask to look a little frightening.

9. Now with these decisions made, paint the mask. For the base coat I used a pale violet to give the face an eerie aura. I used some gold glitter for the eyes, and outlined them in purple and black. I painted on a dog nose, adding some gloss to the nose so it looks a little wet. I decided Warholian eyebrows were a must. Overall, I restrained myself, thinking that ghosts shouldn't be over-fussy.

10. Varnish the mask with a couple of coats of craft varnish. I haven't done this yet.

11. Carefully poke small holes on each side of the mask at the temple line. Reinforce the holes with grommets, and thread nice pieces of silk ribbon through them.

12. Accessorize. I bought the white wig at New York Costumes (104 Fourth Ave. at 11th St.), surely one of the greatest costume shops in the world. It was labeled "Artist Wig," but it was clear which artist we're talking about. I got the pipe cleaners for the pair of glasses in the kid's section of Dick Blick on Bond Street.

13. Adjust what's necessary. I had to make a terrible but necessary decision to cut off the ears (ouch!) and then stick them on top of the wig. I've fastened them to the wig with hairpins.

WoW! BowWow! Trick-or-Treat! It's Sparko Violet! If you're out and about in the Village on Halloween, come say Hey.

P.S. I've seen some women in this town with face work that end up looking exactly like this. The mask may also easily be adapted into representations of Wall Street investment bankers.

All images made with PhotoBooth. Seems appropriate.

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