Clay design for head No.1

I work well sculpting in clay so I used this to get the design down for my happy head. I started out with a tinfoil base to minimise my use of clay and give my sculpture a form to be free standing as I worked on it. I focused on the large features and quickly playing around with these forms. This design is inspired by a patchwork character from one of my dreams. Dreams are inherently surreal in nature but I have chosen this particular dream as it was especially surreal. In the dream I travel to an alternative reality where the rich are patchwork people made up from the most desirable elements of other people. (A concept I touched upon in my research and development project.) So for this design I tried to quickly form shapes and stick them to the base in a slapdash manner which is how the patch work people looked in the dream.  (To read the dream in full visit my dream blog here : )

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I felt like this was too scary and intimidating of a design. A large scale face will always have an uncanny and surreal effect which is my aim, so I want them to steer away from scary and remain within the uncanny valley. I also want them to be in keeping with my themes of bringing traditional uses of the mask (such as its folk and carnival roots) back to performance in a surreal way, just as my inspiration Edward Gordon Craig advocated. He proposed this use of masks for the contemporary stage performances of his time, I am designing this use of masks for contemporary carnival which in today’s society is music and arts festivals. To me bringing these traditions full circle back to its roots through stage and performance concepts its extremely gratifying.

For my new design I have taken inspiration from traditional European Carnival heads. Last year I spent the year in Mainz Germany studying. Mainz is a large Carnival city and I got to see a lot of wonderful, whimsical costumes.

Image result for mainz carnival heads

Large heads are a key theme of this carnival tradition, they often depict caricatures of politicians and mock the farcical politics of the time.

As well as this, to inspire the surreal aspect of my project I watched The Beatles movie Yellow Submarine from 1966 as inspiration. I found the meanies to have a similar effect I wanted my heads to have. In that, predominantly he smiles but his design has an uncanny effect on the viewer.

Image result for yellow submarine meanies

So I came to this design:

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I am much much happier with this design as it is less intimidating. It moves away from the design of the malformed patchwork characters of my dream (which were quite grotesque). However I still want elements of this concept to inspire the design so I will be using recycled tents to scrim the surface of the face, these different patterns and colours will be bold and bright adding to the surreal design but also will create a patchwork effect on its surface. Although the form does not depict the original characters it has evolved to be its own character. Ultimately this project is inspired by my dissertation topic; using masks and disguise as a form of expression of the true self. Having multiple expressions as a collective will represent the different social masks we use everyday, referencing the ability to transform the wearer and the disguise element of any mask. The patchwork element of the design is a nod to my inner self and the surreal truth we find in our dreams, expressed through the surface design of the mask. These two elements of its design coupled with the expressive silent performance ive designed (referencing Edward gordon Craig’s theory that masks allow for a surreal, universal form of visual communication) cover the three characteristics that are intrinsic to every mask. Transformation, surreal inner truth and gesture as visual communication.

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