I needed to make a couple of masks for one of my recent projects entitled 'A Multifaceted Medium', and after some extensive research I decided that latex would be most appropriate. After borrowing a plaster face from the Theatre Design department, I started the lengthy process of building up layers of latex on the model. After many attempts, 6-7 layers proved to be the right amount for my project, with anything below being too delicate and anything above being too thick and opaque. When I had added 4 layers I would then add hardened pieces of oil paint (that I had previously mixed, prepared and dried), and coloured PVA glue. The application of such materials allowed me to distort the faces, giving them undesirable physical imperfections such as benign growths, scar tissue and indentations(Figures 1 & 2).
Fig. 1 Fig. 2
I would then apply the final 2-3 layers of latex over the top to secure the material and to give the impression that the imperfections were under the skin. In places I would add additional layers of latex, for example on the brow ridges and cheeks, in order to create further physical manipulation. Once the latex had dried I found it extremely malleable, allowing me to contort it in a multitude of ways. I was pleased with the final results (Figures 3 and 4), and would like to revisit the material in my future work.
I became fascinated by the nature of latex and found it interesting that its many indentations and ripples were reminiscent of damaged skin. I produced a series of drawings, three of which are pictured below.