GouacheMasked Men, 2019A5

Femininity is conveyed in the idea of a face mask. Throughout my teenage years I’ve had the luxury of using face masks and skincare products without criticism, but men and boys don’t face that same first world privilege. The idea of painting men of different backgrounds in pastel face masks, fashioned with a hooped earrings and studs came to me as I listened to my male friends complain about the stigma of a masculine skincare routine. They wanted to be able to have glowing skin and a shiny complexion without the grief of being told to ‘man up’, or being slurred at by traditional minds. The use of the masks portrays the insecurities men face and the feeling of wanting to hide that side of themselves to fit into a idealistic view of what a man should be. I wanted to use bright colours to emphasise the joy and calm people feel when they finally get to relax with something they enjoy without worrying about the criticism of others. Ultimately, I wanted to portray the feminist side of face masks with more masculine subjects to challenge the ideals of a black and white society.