Throughout the entirety of 2020, Charlie Goodall committed to making a mask a day
Never skipping a day, each mask took around six-to-eight hours to complete. We chat to the London-based artist to hear more about this lengthy but joyful project.
- Ayla Angelos
- 22 January 2021
We’re nearly through the first month of 2021. And even if most of us want to completely forget about the year gone by, that doesn’t mean we have to stop reflecting on its events. In a bit of positive news, or more like someone doing something wonderfully creative, we meet Charlie Goodall. Over the course of last year, the artist and designer – originally from Hemel Hempstead and currently based in south London – made a mask a day under the project title of The Moving Face.
We’ve all seen many accounts of designers challenging themselves to design a poster a day, but how often is it that you stumble across one focused on the physical creation of a mask? The process of mask-making has always inspired Charlie, who first ventured into the medium during school. This propelled an interest in filmmaking and later inspired him to study Moving Image at University, a course that allowed him to bring the construction of masks into his film work: “These were always my favourite projects and the only ones that I could still watch now,” he tells It’s Nice that. “I found that actually making the masks for the films was always my favourite part of the process, but I didn’t really see how I could make a viable career out of that.”
Despite these concerns, Charlie has always wanted to devote more time towards his craft. He just needed a project to give him a reason to do it. That’s where The Moving Face was born and, even though he can’t actually pinpoint the exact reasons for starting it, it was inherently driven by personal motives. “I think the concept of the project was something to do with the fluctuation of identity, how it is never fixed and always moving from one day to the next,” he explains on why masks were the most interesting way to express this idea. Particularly interested in the ways in which masks can quite literally transform you into something completely unrecognisable, Charlie took his varying creations to Instagram – the place of many identities and thus the perfect host to his metamorphic works. Not to mention it’s the place that many of his influences also publish their work, like fellow mask-maker Kimia Armini and artist Luke Routledge.
There are lots of reasons as to why Charlie first started The Moving Face. The main reason is that he wouldn’t have been creatively happy unless he’d finished the project in its entirety. So, working mostly with recycled or found materials, the artist utilises a medley of tools, including paper clay – chosen for its affordability and DIY-approach. “I had to keep all the materials very cheap because the project was self-funded, which I think had a big impact on how it turned out,” he says, shooting a large sum of the project on his iPhone for that very same reason. And because it was quicker. “The amount of time each mask took to make was varied, but I think at one point I worked out that I’d spent at least six-to-eight hours a day doing it. But that includes photography and coming up with ideas and sourcing materials.”
An impressive amount of time and skill has been applied to this project, and it’s astonishing to hear of someone committing to such a thing without any drawbacks. There were, of course, a few times when Charlie felt a little unnerved by the workload, yet this was instantly eradicated after some supportive and encouraging words from his family. “It’s been very emotionally draining and difficult at times, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” he says. Then there’s the lockdown, which not only gifted him the difficulty of working form home but also had him in isolation a few times. “The project only really worked out when I was following quite a strict routine, and when various things interrupted it became difficult,” he says. In the case of job losses and disrupted lives, Charlie summarises the experience as a good distraction from the events unfolding around him. “I’ve kept my day job and this project gave me a purpose through the pandemic which I think was a real blessing – there were parts of it that were difficult, but I’m aware that I’m very lucky. So I don’t complain.”
Overall, The Moving Face was an incredible commitment and something that the founder admits did ‘take over’ his life a little bit. Nonetheless, Charlie – like many of us – feels like he hasn’t missed out on much, so what better way to spend his time than to create a year-long daily project? “I would also stand by the fact that I think most people could do this project,” he says, concluding humbly that it didn’t involve a particular level of skill. “I just don’t think anyone else would bother.”
GalleryCharlie Goodall: The Moving Face. (Copyright © Charlie Goodall, 2020)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.