The Masks of Vincent Cantillon
Model: Elena Lvovna, Photo by Ginger Broderick
“After looking through books and watching films I will pull out the sketchbook and do several concept drawings, then I will put those aside and work in a spontaneous way, creating as I go along.” The creative force is instantly visible. The Black Wing, with its curling accents resembling wings in the place of ears, is attached to a mask which simultaneously becomes a skull overtop of a face, instead of the other way around. It is something one could imagine an ancient priest wearing to a funerary ceremony.
For the moment, however, Vincent is working on incorporating an entirely feminine presence into his work. Despite the creepy, even violent aspects of his masks, there is something undeniably womanly about it. “The underlying theme to my work is a combination of elements that are seductive, yet deadly or threatening in some way. I like to think that it confuses the subliminal response, like a mental tug of war… I also like to use flowing lines and curves that work well together, but I like to add more to it than just ‘sexy’... some of my ideas come from women of legends that have some kind of inner strength or supernatural ability… women that men respected and feared.” Such threat and femininity is patently visible in the Steampunk Crow Mask, which is built downward in a long beak instead of upward like the Jawbone Mask. The seductive curl of the bill appears delicate, and it also puts a lot of emphasis on the eyes of the wearer. However it is undeniable that the vast alterations to a woman’s basic facial structure give it a certain amount of shock. Yet another, the Victorian Raven Headdress is adorned with wispy black feathers attached to silver stalks and ornate leather piercings, but retains an unusual amount of breadth to offset its fragility. The round headpiece calls to mind the crown of a queen.
In general, Vincent Cantillon is experimenting with the Internet and social media to help his creations see the light of day. He has several profiles on various art-based sites with several stunning photographs of his masterpieces, but very little written about himself. The two main sites that his work is best available through are Etsy and Facebook, which he operates under his full name. Both sites show evidence of careful attention, but he is infinitely more likely to update either page with a new photograph of his artwork than anything personal, even a photograph of himself. He favors Facebook as the best website to get a feel for his work over Etsy, probably because it can support many photographs of a single work in order to showcase its aesthetic presence within a tribal context and not just clinical images that show only selling features.
At the moment, I am excited to say that I now have one in my hands to describe for you in terms of its wearability. The inside is lined with soft suede, and the outside sparks with almost imperceptible accents of warm pink at strategic parts that are not easily visible in the photographs. If you are questioning the fit of the masks, I can attest that it is somehow roomy; the basic features of the eyes and nose bridge are here, but it has not been molded to fit a specific person’s face. How tightly you want it to cling to the sides of the face is up to you. The fit depends on how closely you fasten it, and it is tied with strong, soft leather ribbons, and not elastic. One can really wear this with anything, like the ornate tribal looks present in much of Vincent’s photography, your favorite dressy corset, or even a suit! I will warn you however, that such a thing is best worn by a person who is not afraid of attention, but paradoxically someone who may benefit by the confidence that comes with a hidden face.