Large bone-colored papier-mache mask with two small horns pointing upward. Angry-looking eyes. A skull face is on each side of its head.

Primary materials: CelluClay, cereal boxes, newspaper, flour.

I began this in 2007. It’s one of the first masks I made and the first time I used CelluClay in any significant way. I built a base out of cereal-box strips and newspaper, and then began putting CelluClay over that.

CelluClay is powdered papier-mache that comes in dry blocks. You mix it with water to sculpt. It dries very hard, almost like wood, and can be carved with a rotary tool. It’s not a good idea to put on layers that are too thick, because the inside will get moldy before it dries, and because larger shapes will sag from their own weight. Because of these restrictions I had to make lots of layers, wait for them to dry, carve them, and then apply more wet material as needed.

Back of mask has a face on it. Large ridge bisects face, running from top of head to lip, and forming a tooth. Ridges connect two large, empty eye sockets to lip. Large white teeth on lip. Overall somewhat reptilian appearance. Horns on front of mask visible in the background.

Top of mask has a demon-like face with angry eyes, open mouth, and horns pointed toward viewer. Foreheads of skull faces and eye sockets of back face visible around it.
The "parallel-park" face.
Left side of mask. Skull face with open mouth in center. To left, profile of front face. To right, profile of reptilian back face with large teeth. At top, horn and mouth of top face.
One of the relatively few times I've made a good old fashion skull face.
Back right of mask. Back face visible, along with skull face on right side of mask, horn on top, and top face's open mouth. Ridges separate the back face from the skull on side.
It isn't every day that the same anatomic feature serves as a chin, a nose, and a tooth.

Why five faces? I thought it would be cool to have a face on every side. I don’t remember if I saw the Chronicles of Riddick when I started this. There’s a character in that movie named Lord Marshal, who has a helmet with faces on the sides. I maybe saw him in the trailers. I remember an episode of The X-Files where this guy is telling Scully about angels, and we see a vision of a being with animal faces on each side of its head. I think the episode was “All Souls.” I do recall thinking about that image as I carved this.

I originally wanted to paint it black and gold. I also thought about blue and gold. But I hadn’t painted much at this point. I made a test mask to practice a painting technique, but didn’t feel the results were right for this project, and so it remained unfinished.

This fits pretty well. Even though it’s heavy, the weight is balanced on top of the head, so it’s wearable.