Prototype 0

Painted in January 2014 but conceived sometime in the fall of 2006, Prototype 0 is sort of a product of circumstance. My ex-girlfriend/roommate was throwing a Halloween party full of people I didn't know. While the rational reaction would be to talk to these people and get to know them, I was going through a pretty intense bout of social awkwardness, so instead I started working on a costume that would effectively prevent me from speaking to anyone at all. The result was an effeminate android version of myself called Prototype 0.

Prototype 0 was to be an android in progress and his mouth would still be under construction This was meant to allow me to spend the night walking around with a white piece of tape over my mouth with pink lips drawn on it, incapable of communicating except with a notepad. Not awkward at all.


The painting turned out to be a fairly accurate representation of how I looked that Halloween night, with the exception of the pale blue skin. All of the androids I've painted or drawn recently have had this pale blue skin but I can't really explain why. It could have been a seed planted when I was a kid.

I was pretty hard into the Masters of the Universe toy line and there was a character named Fakor who was supposed to be an evil android replica of He-Man. He had blue skin, yet the people of Eternia still somehow mistook him for He-Man. I think my original Prototype 0 costume had silver cheeks and the blue strip across the eyes (almost definitely influenced by Pris from Bladerunner although I feel like this style has gotten bigger than the origin) but otherwise kept my skin tone.

Prototype 0 wears a polka dot dress for reasons I can't explain and he's wrapped in red caution tape that reads "DANGER". I suppose this could be an indicator of his unfinished state. Versions of the costume have incorporated tin foil safety-pinned to the dress and wrapped around the exposed arm (in the painting, Prototype 0's right arm is supposed to be partially wrapped in tin foil).  

But the underlying theme explored by the character of Prototype 0 is a longing for romance. The dress actually featured a jagged heart on the chest made from red caution tape and black masking tape. The costume was supposed to include stiff wires extending from my hair ending in plastic hearts cut from the red caution tape.

While this design is incorporated into the painting, I didn't have the time (or more likely will) to execute it as part of the costume. The painting depicts Prototype 0 longingly stroking the lips of a porcelain mask, lips that he longs to kiss with lips that he longs to have. 

The Prototype 0 costume also made use of children's hair barrettes that featured smiling cartoonish cat faces. This just illustrates the colorful innocence (and disconnect) of Prototype 0. The painting also portrays the android in a gloomy factory streaked with pink paint. I imagined this as a toy factory but can't really say why.

It's worth mentioning that when I originally started the Prototype 0 painting, it was disastrous, but I was lucky enough to turn it around to a perfect representation of what I was trying to achieve. There have actually been radically different versions of this android (including a ballerina version with a light pink bow around the mouth area) and possibly other versions will make it into my work at some point.