Untitled, 2011, Oil, 15.75” x 19.5”
So I’ve been into the whole gas mask fetish thing since I was an adolescent. Why? Well for many reasons.. They’re dark as hell, a symbol of decay. Gas masks take me to the not-so-long-ago past of WWII and the Cold War.
They also represent the (near) future where I imagine everyone will be required to wear them to go outside at all.
So I’ve been doodling, drawing and painting little masks for a while now. When I was in the painting studios at TAFA, the mask came back. However this time, it wasn’t because of my own fetish.. it was because I felt bad for the poor model and was dying for a mask myself!
I realized how good we have it at the studios at home. The ventilation is on 24/7 at CSULB, just like the rooms. Most professors require us to use OMS and put the lid back on our jars when not in use to reduce fumes. In China, we used pure turpentine, in a room of over 20 students with no air flow. It didn’t help that people were smoking cigarettes in doors, too. My first weeks in class, I had the worst headaches. Eventually, I got used to it.