Life Casting Explained
What is Lifecasting?
“What is life casting anyway?” (often written “lifecasting). That's the question that I hear most often when I mention the type of art I produce. Since I respond to it so often I learned to conserve my words – “ taking a mold from the human body is” is usually my abbreviated retort. But in fact, it is much more than that as life casting or body casting as it is also known is one of the oldest art forms dating back to when Egyptian artisans used gypsum and linen or papyrus to make masks.
One might as well ask what is photography and receive the simple answer that it is a method of reproducing an exact likeness of a three-dimensional object in two dimensions. It is the right answer, but far from an adequate one. The same is true for lifecasting – an art form often denigrated by artistic purists as nothing more than copying. However all one has to do is to view the works of John DeAndrea, Duane Hanson and George Segal the holy trinity of life casting artists and it most certainly would dispel that criticism. Also, the works of the renown undersea artist Jason Taylor are all life casts
What they would see is that life casting is more than simply taking a mold from the body. It is what the artist does with that mold – how he poses it, how he casts it, the story he tells about it that completes the answer to what is lifecasting. In fact, when properly executed, life casting, like painting, dancing, playing an instrument or sculpting it is an art form all to itself.
Life casting is about craftsmanship – as much as it is with a cabinetmaker or a fine furniture designer. It is about technique – just as with an accomplished painter. It is about dimensional visualization – just as in sculpting and in photography. For lifecasting is a blend of all these skills, the sculptor, the painter, the craftsman and the photographer.
To an amateur lifecaster the art is also about realistic preservation. It is a means of creating a lifelong memory of a relative or loved one. A baby’s hands, or the foot of a child in a ballet slipper, or a face, or the hands of two lovers, are all very precious to those who commissioned them. It is different than a painting or a sculpture, as it has actually touched the person that it represents, evoking more emotion and more sentiment than any other art form.
So perhaps the better definition of lifecasting is that it is an art form by itself for the artistic preservation of the memory of the model that is was molded from or an emotion evoking sculpture so real that the fingerprints are evident.
Important Life Casting Links
Follow along in our exploration of lifecasting by chose the links below to enter the artist's world of lifecasting