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Pa. man can't mask his talent

November 03, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Andrew Mowen will tell you that his art isn't the type to hang in museums, but the macabre pieces tie into his love of horror movies.

"It's really interesting. It's like a car crash without anyone getting hurt," Mowen said. "It's just that shock."

The 22-year-old's latest venture has been time-consuming and expensive. Yet, he looks at the completed latex mask and feels proud of the effort.

Mowen's mother, too, expresses pride while teasing him about the mask being "ugly."

"I think he showed he has a lot of talent in sculpture," Linda Mowen said.

The 2004 graduate of Chambersburg Area Senior High School began the mask a year ago. His first step was to roughly sketch the design, which was based on Insane Clown Posse artwork.

The finished and painted mask was signed in Illinois by members of the hip-hop act known for dark lyrics.

"They said it was horrible in a good way," Mowen said.

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Mowen molded clay and later plaster on a foam base. Sculpting alone took an estimated 90 to 100 hours.

"It starts out looking like nothing. It's like a blank page," he said.

Often as he worked, Mowen thought about how his late father delighted in his son's artistic skills.

"He used to sit and watch me draw. He supported my art 100 percent," Mowen said.

His father, Donald, is closely tied to a dream held by the artist and his mother.

"I still try to make him proud. That's why I want to go to college," Mowen said.

Mowen has been working and saving money to go to the Douglas Education Center in Pittsburgh, where he hopes to learn special effects in a program designed by Tom Savini of "Dawn of the Dead." He considers Chambersburg Area Senior High School art teacher David Martin a great mentor because "he didn't fail me" when the student experimented with dark images.

His next mask will be a creepy scarecrow.

After pouring in five gallons of latex, Mowen's most nerve-racking experience with making the first mask came when he took off the cast.

"You jam two screwdrivers in and pull it apart. I'm really proud of the details that came out," he said.

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