Montreal artist and fabricator Ian Langohr is a multi-talented maker. He sculpts surreal and humorous over-the head masks — you may have seen his Zombie Cat Mask that I posted on Craft the other day. He also works on films and music videos building props, directing, animating, and illustrating (and he’s a musician himself). He’s done some rad wood carvings. And he’s even made some simple mechanical devices, like fingers tapping on the table, and a head banging against the wall. Find out more about Ian in the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 interview below!
One Project You Are Particularly Proud Of
1. Factory Face was a mask I worked on for most of 2011 while taking French lessons and working on contracts. There were so many times during the process that I wanted to give up because I thought it was too bizarre or unpolished. It is based on an old abandoned malting plant in my neighbourhood in Montreal that has been left to ruin. What makes it so interesting to me is the amount of graffiti and destruction it has endured over the decades. I didn’t feel like this was translating well on the mask so I would take long breaks from it, but in its final months I put in a lot of hours painting and adding details to it until I was satisfied. I think at present it stands as my favorite piece I’ve created.
Two Mistakes You’ve Made in the Past
1. Trying to work on multiple projects and commissions at once instead of focusing on one and seeing it through.
2. Being a horrible salesperson. This still reigns true. If people inquire about a purchase I feel like I unintentionally try to talk them out of it.Three Things That Make Your Work Unique
1. The techniques used to make the masks. I spent almost two years working at a mascot production company in Toronto. We did some really cool projects there, but most of the time it was generic sports and product mascots. When I started designing my own masks, I wanted to use the same techniques I learned there, but make the subjects more twisted and surreal.
2. The functionality of the masks. I’ve displayed them at shows as sculptures as well as used them for performances and events. I also play drums in a Montreal based band, Trips and Falls, and we used some of them to make a music video.
3. Accessibility. My work can be dark, but at the same time playful and humorous. I often get positive responses from audiences of all generations.
Four Tools You Love to Use
1. Carving knives. From my Lee Valley whittling knife for wood to X-Acto blades used for foam.
2. Airbrush. It is still a relatively new tool for me, and I have in no sense mastered it, but its use on the masks really gives them a dynamic effect and brings them to life.
3. Curved sewing needle. I’ve only learned one way of stitching, but it’s been vital to making my masks. And one of the most satisfying feelings in the process is closing up those seams.
4. Lepage Pres-Tite Green Contact Cement. More of a product than a tool, but it’s almost odourless and I can use it without proper ventilation.Five Inspirations
1. Shows and photography focused on animals and nature. Especially BBC’s Planet Earth series.
2. Abandoned factories. Montreal has some great ones. I would love to do a series of masks similar to Factory Face.
3. Horror/fantasy novels and films.
4. Instructors throughout my life. There are too many to list, but I’ve had some great ones in high school, university and throughout my working career.
5. Those close to me. My supportive family, friends, girlfriend, and two cats.