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Face Off – Living Art

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Face Off Living Art

An interesting art-based Face Off challenge is almost ruined when the judges don’t seem to grasp surrealism. It doesn’t matter because Elvira showed up. Elvira!

For the foundation challenge, everyone has to create a “young, hip” take on Elvira’s iconic look. It was a pretty cool challenge, and we saw pretty creative angles. Roy won with a bat-themed take, though Tate’s sexy evil nurse was pretty spot on.

Let’s all take a moment to bask in the awesomeness of Elvira. Halloween would just not be the same without her (you might even make an argument that the “sexy costume” trend is in part due to her influence, and you certainly won’t catch me complaining about a prevalence of sexy Halloween costumes). I seriously don’t understand how Cassandra Peterson just stays smoking hot year after year. She might actually be undead, which is cool. Can we greenlight a movie where she plays a seductress who embraces undeath to preserve her beauty forever?

Sadly, Elvira didn’t stick around for the spotlight challenge. It was an interesting idea, to take a movement from the visual arts and build a make-up around it. The choices were surrealism, expressionism, cubism and constructivism. I’m not going to make fun of Alana for not understanding constructivism for two reasons: I didn’t know anything about it either, and her initial guess about it involving architecture was actually pretty accurate. I don’t know why she ended up so conflicted, other than the usual case of self-doubt (see also: Miranda).

It got bad enough that Alana invoked the sacred prayer of make-up artists: “Westmore, where are you?” Soon he appeared wreathed in a perfectly contrasting color palette, raining foam and clay onto his subjects. With a kiss upon their brows he imparted his holy knowledge. Ok fine he just walked around giving useful advice.

Tate made this enormous castle face sculpt thing, and promptly dropped it on his own hand. There was blood everywhere and it wasn’t Alana’s! Tate needed a trip to urgent care for stitches. This turned out to be an opportunity for everyone to just be awesome and show why Face Off is so great.
Roy and Laura just immediately went to work opening Tate’s mold, then everyone else helped clean it out. They even started running his foam so he could just jump right in when he got back. If you think of Face Off as a sort of extended televised job interview, everyone (and especially Laura and Roy) just scored major points. Those are the exact kinds of team players you want on your film crew.

Both constructivism designs ended up as middle looks. Frank had a much better grasp of the movement than Alana did, even tying it to its Marxist roots, depicting a worker hold a steel I-beam that was a clear call back to the propaganda art of the Red Bolsheviks (wikipedia, y’all). He basically created a three-dimensional painting, brilliantly using forced perspective on the I-beam and backdrop mounted to the model’s back. Alana didn’t really finish her piece, and while the sculpt was decent, it felt a bit forced. It lacked the emotional impact the better pieces had. It really should have been a bottom look.

For expressionism, Eddie recreated Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” but decided to depict stress instead of a night sky. There’s no way this should have been a bottom look. It totally looked like a living Van Gogh. Yes, the paint scheme needed some better contrasting colors, but I was still very impressed. Although Eddie’s decision to make the character into an actual painter, with an easel, was weird. Roy had a more original concept, a figure being squeezed by an unraveled globe. When he first described it I just thought, “Well, ok Roy.” And he nailed it. Somehow his double fat suit method and spiky head piece just worked and made sense. It was interesting that Eddie duplicated the form of an expressionist painting in 3D, while Roy actually created an expressionist make-up. A subtle difference.

Laney was the only one who took pop art, and she definitely pulled it off with a bullseye faced woman surrounded by mass media intrusion. Here again Laney actually created a piece of pop art, instead of simply duplicating the style. It was also the kind of bonkers design I’ve come to expect from Laney, something I’d never have imagined until she brought it to life. Check out Laney’s concept sketch and finished piece.

Two of the top looks were based on cubism. Miranda might be the first contestant who thought she was going home to actually get a top look. Although it was a plain design, it was terribly mournful, which was exactly what she was going for. I don’t know what it will take to get her over the lack of confidence. Laura’s cubist design was head and shoulders (or maybe an arm, or was that an eyebrow?) above everyone else. Laura might be my all-time favorite Face Off contestant. She’s just so damn good, and quietly plugs away and works her ass off and makes brilliant things.

Then there’s surrealism. What the hell, judges? They kept throwing around declarations with absolute certitude, like how surrealism has “a soft look,” or that a contestant somehow did surrealism wrong. I’m not going to judge Tate too much this week, what with the injury. I did like his concept before he added the sprite. The end result was cool, but the weirdness of it felt contrived. It was definitely surreal though. And what’s with the random and arbitrary distinction between a costume and a make-up this week? He sculpted an amazing piece, why does it matter that he didn’t glue parts of it to anyone’s face?

But I’m actually pretty ticked off about how they judged Scott. Last week I mentioned that he’s been underperforming compared to his experience, but his work this week was very well executed, and even though the symbolism was heavy-handed, there was something behind that piece that pushed it from a weird design into an actual work of art. True, it was not attractive, as Neville observed. That wasn’t part of the freaking challenge! Surrealism is often not pretty.

Maybe the judges were making their own piece of art. They picked absurdism.

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Posted by on Tuesday, September 24th, 2013. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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