Julien Palast

Upon researching how vacuum forming can be used within fashion I came across Palast’s collaboration with brand Melissa in which he created vacuum formed backdrops to photograph their products on. After looking further into Palast’s work I found a series called Skin Deep which is a collaboration with retoucher Thierry Peureux.

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(Image sources: http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/skin-deep)

The work itself allows the viewer to look at the human body in a raw form. By using the latex the identity of the person is hidden, the idea which in itself is a juxtaposition, as the person themselves cannot be identified yet their emotions are as raw and readable as it gets. The material is pulled tightly over the bodies, accentuating the natural curves of the human form, the effect this gives is very interesting as areas of the human form are visible but due to the lack of texture they look almost alien.

The technique of creating the imagery could be be an instant form of bas relief. Bas relief is a method of moulding, carving, or stamping in which the design stands out from the surface. Palast has not spoken much about the process used to create these pieces however other than bas relief there are a variety of possible processes used, such as vacuum forming and live modelling. Vacuum forming would require a cast of the models to be made and placed in a vacuum former that vacuums the material around the subject, creating the webbed effect within it. It is also possible that the pieces were created by using a sheet of flexible material such as latex and pulling it across live models whilst photographing the effect.

However these pieces have been created the concept behind them really interests me; the idea of anonymity versus readable and relatable emotion is something I feel could be a base concept for my final piece.

So what inspiration am I taking from this work? 

From here I would like to explore using the human form to convey emotion that represents a boundary. I am interested in Palast’s technique and although I do not want to replicate his work I will be experimenting to produce something similar, at least as an experimental stepping stone towards my final piece.

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