Digital: Glumface

by Beauchamp Art

Glumface 1


3D Sculptris model of a glum face, loosely referencing my own. A work-in-progress sculpture, that will probably remained unresolved, as its primary function was a technical exercise, though stimulate some thoughts on the substitution of the self for an imperfect simulacrum; or however an individual is translated through re-contextualising them within a different social/linguistic/technical environment will undoubtedly alter the perception of that individual, and thereby how that person will subsequently project their self.

The mask is molded to the face and the face molds itself to fit the make, to remain unnoticed, to not disturb a social continuum, to speak only common thoughts, to be lost into the homogeneity of the banal, spiral of silence.
The figure is glum because it knows that it is just “a painting of a sorrow, a face without a heart” [Shakespeare, 1602: 1161]. Like any ghastly undead, aware of its own unreal half-life, facing the prospect of an immortality without substance, the screen a wailing wall for the ghosts in the machine.

However, in terms of technical development, I am still getting familiar with the software, which is fair more minimal than Zbrush, though made by the same developers, Pixelogic, but the simplified interface is more approachable to someone unfamiliar with such software. However, many of the tool functions remediate similar techniques as can be found on Photoshop, and as both digital painting an digital sculpture rely on using a graphics tablet as the primary interface hardware alongside the screen, then translating between these formats is not too complicated.

Glumface 2

Moreover, since the software is fairly paired down, it does mean it is fairly malleable, and compensates for major adjustments by subdividing th triangle grid of the model as the user draws, stretches, or otherwise modifies the surface, though this can be reduced afterwards. If the user could export higher resolution renders of the model, then this would be appreciated, especially if one goes on to paint the model (which unlike Zbrush is one-way, and must be done after finishing the model, not along side it) also there are fewer lighting tools, but enough to experiment with for the time being.

Having done some small scale sculptures and models of heads and body, and with a fair amount of life drawing time behind me, I am fairly well equipped for considering the proportions and anatomical concerns of the figures, though having mostly worked from flat images so far, and being a bit unsteady with the software, getting this experience into the models has proven somewhat difficult, but will be practice, and improved on over time (though this ma be after my degree, as it does not directly feed in with my work, and I am still toying with the novelty and frustrations of the process.

Glumface 3

Nevertheless, I may need to refresh myself with more Classical sculptures to get more of a feel for being selective with sculpting the figure, which is my primary concern for the time being. Still, I know Botticelli’s buttock from Michaelangelo’s elbow, and am fairly well versed when it comes to the figure in traditional and historical fine art practice, but I am not as well researched regarding the Contemporary use of the figure, besides though artist like Stelarc, or other performers.

Bodies tend to be cast or scanned now rather than made from scratch; the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction is not limited to the development of repo-graphics and printing techniques, now the whole body is reproducible. It can be rendered in a perfect rendering, a life-mask, animated live, through a machine. It can be clone, substituted, supplanted, implanted, inverted with its inner exposed, and still be a living organism.

Glumface 4

The multi-facet self pre-dates modern digital repo-graphics, photograph, social media, or genetics lab; it is in the mask individuals wear when they see their neighbours, their work colleagues, their friend, their families, their rivals, their partners, and their own reflection at the end of the day. The self speaks through a prism as its voice is translated into a range of situations, circumstances and conversations; the same word never uttered identically, the same lips never forming the sounds same, they are always an echo of the first time their were formed; guttural noises reverberating through the ages, forming a complex structure of grammar, language; physical and abstract. Language is humanity’s primary technology, through which are formed the initial “extensions of man” [McLuhan, 1964: 142], that take the person outside of their body in shouts and reflections in the world that become familiarised, categorised, and functional.

This sculpture is non-functional, ornamental more like a grotesque than a gargoyle, or a buttress.


Glumface 5



McLuhan, Marshall (1964) Understanding Media. 1994 Edition. Routledge. Great Britain.

Shakespeare, William. (1602) The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Odhams Press Limited. Long Acre London. UK.