Face mask

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The mask was one of the most interesting projects we have done so far. It not only forces you to use your fabrication skills, which you hopefully picked up on during the linear day project, it also relies on your ability to understand light and shadow. When doing the drawing of the mask under a certain light at a certain angle you need to understand how value works and rely upon value to form your image rather than the lines themselves.

During the first steps of making this mask, I realized how symmetrical the human face is, and how simple it is. My face could be broken up into basic polygons and be represented as such when pieced together to form the mask. It was eye opening and it provided a new take on how I could proceed in drawing humans. Looking upon everyone elses masks I noticed the same basic forms of symmetry among all of them.

Breaking the mask up into the elements and principles of design was similar to breaking it up as any other piece. One of the most significant elements of the mask was shape. If you think about it the human body is the grouping of shapes that creates a positive space while the world around us acts as the negative space. We are all just shapes moving around in the negative space of the universe. On terms with the principles of design, effects like harmony and unity arise from the mask. The symmetry creates this beautiful harmony between like shapes that can be seen within the human anatomy. The unity comes from not only the similar materials that were used during the construction of this mask, but also the ideal that the human face is this perfect representation of inner beauty, linking back to forms of simplicity and emptiness. In simplicity there is elegance, and where there is elegance there is beauty.

Moving on to the representation of the mask with a shaded drawing. This really helped me understand that drawing humans isn’t as hard or frustrating as I had previously thought. I used to hate the idea of sitting down and drawing something that I see everyday, knowing that it had no potential to undergo any kind of metamorphosis.  That is mainly why I stuck with drawing creatures and tried to separate myself from the part of art that forced me into drawing anything having to do with the human anatomy. However, after making this mask and comparing it to my face, I myself had undergone a metamorphosis of my ideals. I now understand that everything can be broken down into shapes and be made so basic, that drawing faces becomes less of a torturous experience. I can happily say that this project was worth the amount of work and time that was devoted to this one piece made out of paper and tape. It ended up having long term benefits that I will gladly use throughout my DMA career here at Alfred State.

It is very easy to notice the elements and principles of design within the shaded drawing of my mask. The element “line” didn’t mean so much as drawing lines as much as it meant using the shapes and value of the mask to create lines. After shading a certain space the mask seems to form on its own without physically drawing the lines themselves. One significant element used in this drawing is value. Value provided depth and texture that accurately showed how the light dances off the mask’s surface creating shadows and negative space. Without the value in this  image, it would end up looking flat as a board and just plain dull. Value helps anything look more realistic, we are not made up of one shade, when light hits a surface it moves and refracts and becomes absorbed. Light is a living thing that is as complex as any math equation and it should be represented in that fashion through value.

I personally enjoyed this project because, it really helped me understand how the fundamentals of art can be changed as well as your ideals. I don’t know how other people will treat the experience from making the mask, or if they even gained any new knowledge besides making a paper mask. The real point behind this was to understand how things can be broken down into their basic shapes in order to make a complex form easier to draw out. I wouldn’t mind doing more projects like this.

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