In a word: freaky.
This is my brother’s face made out of clay. His name is Matthew, but we’ve always called him Maff.
Of course, once I’d finished I couldn’t leave his face just regular boring clay colour. It had to be painted too (and no, he doesn’t have pink eyes instead of white eyes unlike everyone else. I just haven’t got round to finishing it yet. Could you be arsed after going to all the trouble of sculpting a face like this?)
Throughout my life, like most people, I’ve been struck by the creative urge to do something a bit different. Or not even different…just something I used to do years ago. I like a challenge, and a few weeks ago I decided to buy some clay and make something. To begin with I had no idea what I wanted to make, but quickly I amassed a list of possibles. Right at the top of the list was a Grizzly bear standing on its hind feet, its massive paws raised high, the mouth open looking all ferocious.
Except I soon ran into a problem: i had no idea where to begin. At sixth form I’d made a weird kind of building — model sized, there wasn’t enough clay to go around for me to construct an actual bungalow — but that was different to making a Grizzly bear. I knew that if I was to make a Grizzly bear, I’d want it to look like a Grizzly bear.
So I did some research online. Weirdly, there were no how-to’s on how to make clay Grizzly bears, which baffled me.
But little did I know at this point in time that a visit from my brother would kick-start my inspiration engine. And kick-start it it did, because within minutes I’d got the idea to make a life-sized model of his face!
All he’d have to do was sit perfectly still for an hour and a half. No problem. He was sure he could manage that.
He couldn’t manage that. After about twenty bloody minutes he was starting to blink more and speak more — thwarting my attempts to make his eye-brows, forcing me to use my own initiative and poor memory, which meant his eye-sockets ended up being exaggerated like neanderthal man — and it was becoming clear that I was going to have to play the big-bad-big-brother in order to get this done to my satisfaction.
“Stop moving, Maff,” I told him repeatedly, “otherwise you’ll end up with an asshole mouth.”
That shut him up. Nobody wants an asshole mouth.
Then it started to go better. After tearing some clay off the back of his head and making the back of his head flat and basically just obliterating the back of his head and focussing on the face, it started to sort of…work! I say sort of because there was a moment when he had a dodgy nose, squiffy eyes and the world’s smallest forehead. But it only lasted for a short time. Now filled with confidence that my clay-sculpting skills were coming back to me, Maff began to stop moaning about sitting still and I began to enter the final phase of the operation.
He still ended up with an asshole mouth, but what can I say? I did warn him.
The following day was a stressful one as I wrestled with how to finish it. Obviously I was going to paint it — how could I not? — but if just felt like there was something missing. Maff nailed hit. “Why don’t you stick real hair on my head,” he said, “and make a real human-hair beard?”
Inside, I was thinking Because you and I know that your hair is made out of that kind of wiry stiff difficult curly black hair that is almost exactly like pubic hair, just like mine is. I do not want to touch it. Not ever.
And so it was that the face was left painted.
What will I create next? I’m still stuck on the Grizzly bear thing, but I’d settle for a savage-looking crocodile, I think.
Have a good one!